The Rs 1,800 cricket betting racket unearthed in March by the Prevention Of Crime Branch of Ahmedabad Police led the state police chief, Vikas Sahay, to hand over the probe to a SIT. However, on Saturday, the investigation was handed over to the State Monitoring Cell, the reason given being “since the investigation spans across the state and in different parts of the country, the State Monitoring Cell is better equipped to deal with the same.”
Tight-lipped police insiders, however, share that vested interests in the betting racket led “higher authorities” to “hand over the probe” to the monitoring cell. “Even in the Kiran Patel matter, despite Jagdish Chavda’s complaint last year about the usurping of the bungalow, the police action remains questionable,” shared sources.
It may be recalled that the Rs 1,800-crore cricket betting racket was unearthed from “Mahavir Enterprises,” an office at Sumail Business Park in Madhavpura. Four people were arrested for engaging in hawala transactions related cricket betting and dabba trading with links to the illegal betting ring Mahadev Book. The arrested were identified as Jitendra Hiragar, Satish Parihar, Ankit Gehlot and Nirav Patel. Illegal transactions were operated using as many as 540 dummy bank accounts.
During the raid, the police seized seven mobile phones, three laptops, 536 cheque books, 538 debit cards, 14 POS machines of different banks, one router, 193 SIM cards and seven PAN cards.
According to the police, the accused had been operating the scam since 2021. Several illegal betting applications like Mahadev Book, CBTF247, and cricketbet9 were used. Mahavir Enterprises proprietor Harshit Jain, allegedly ran the online betting operations, according to an FIR filed with the Madhavpura police by ASI Jagdevsinh Charan.
The bookies would provide their customers access to these bank accounts for transactions. Harshit would receive a 3.5% fee for every transaction made in these bank accounts. The transactions in these dummy accounts amounted to more than Rs 70 crore per month since 2021. The holders of these accounts used to get Rs 5000-Rs 10,000 as commission every month.
The police also alleged that the four transacted with well-known bookies such as Saurabh Chandrakar of Mahadev Book, Amit Majethia, Manush Shah and Anna Reddy of Reddy Anna Book.
In addition, crores of rupees being stashed away in Singapore and Dubai, have been identified. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. Several well known IPS officers and their political masters have every reason to worry. Heads will begin to roll very soon and the fact that this unearthing has happened just a year before the General Elections is not something that power lobbies had hoped for,” added a senior cop privy to the details of the case.
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