Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Springdales boy, DU student held for running betting racket

NEW DELHI: A class XII boy from a well-known private school and a DU student ran a betting racket from a rented room in Lawrence Road, northwest Delhi, and made transactions worth Rs 1.82 crore during the World Cup, police said on Monday after arresting the duo. 

The accused, Harsprit Singh Walia (19), had just appeared for his class XII boards from Springdales school, Pusa Road, while his partner, Arun Sablok (20) is a first-year DU student. Both come from families with successful businesses. They were among 23 betting syndicates the police claimed to have busted during the World Cup. 

"Both boys started out as punters four years ago when Harsprit was in class VIII and Arun in 9th. They lost heavily. It was then that they decided to turn bookies. They got two 'dabba' phones from Rohini sector 16, rented a room in the Lawrence Road with their pocket money and set up the business," said additional DCP (crime) Joy Tirkey. Dabba phones are devices used by bookies to receive odds from Dubai and relay these to punters. 

One laptop, a TV set and six mobile phones were also recovered from them. Police said the duo had received bets worth Rs 27 lakh during the India-Sri Lanka match alone. 

"They told us that they feared getting caught operating from their own homes and decided to set themselves up in the rented room. The precision with which they went about their job showed they have inside knowledge of the trade," said a SIT team officer. Among others who acted as bookies were not only the usual suspects like businessmen, property dealers but also CAs and even a chief cameraman of a Hindi news channel. 

Three bookies were arrested from Vishnu Garden near Tilak Nagar. They had received bets worth Rs 30 lakh, police said. "Till date, 23 betting syndicates have been busted and 67 persons arrested. Bets received by these syndicates during the World Cup is estimated to be around Rs 15.14 crore," said an officer at the records branch in the Delhi Police headquarters. 

Police said heavy betting was reported from Rohini, Matia Mahal in the Walled City and Tilak Nagar, along with Dwarka and Bindapur in southwest Delhi. Additional DCP (crime) Sanjay Bhatia and P S Khuswah said almost all syndicates showed more than Rs 40 lakh transactions through hawala in just one session of play. "What adds to the problem are not the rates coming from betting sites in England, but those coming from Dubai through Mumbai and Jaipur through the dabba phones. In total, we believe over Rs 150 crore at stake in the NCR region," said a special unit officer of crime branch. 

"The betting takes places on basis of odds originating from various sources. After the match is over, profit and loss is calculated by a software, known as Back 'N' Lay Pro. The rates keep fluctuating with the fall of wickets and the runs scored. A laptop is used by bookies for data entry and management. Mobile phones are used for getting the odds, relaying these to punters and taking bets. All calls from punters are recorded," said Ashok Chand, DCP (crime). 

Chand said bookies used one set of mobile phones specifically for receiving the rates. "Apart from receiving rates on the phone, they also receive rates on internet using data cards. The data for betting is also maintained manually on notebooks as a back up," he said. 

A crime branch officer the department has sent its report on betting syndicates to the intelligence agencies. 

"Information on certain international calls that lasted for over an hour was sent to the telecom department. Some phone were also tapped on Saturday. As a result no rates came in through Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The intelligence sources said many bookies then switched to the Punjab channel, an entirely new route. However, many stopped taking bets after sensing the one-sided nature of the match and with rates swinging completely in India's favour by the end of the 30th over," he said.

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