A city replete with silk weavers, fabric shops and diamond stores is rapidly acquiring the reputation of being a gambling den. In recent times, several raids have been conducted in Surat, India’s diamond city as it’s popularly called.
Now, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has cracked down on an international cricket betting racket in Dindoli, an industrial town in Surat. The ED searched the bank accounts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and froze an amount of Rs 3.44 crore from five bank accounts.
During earlier investigations, Rs 46.10 crore had been recovered from 150 bank accounts. In all, Rs 49.15 crore has been recovered as part of the investigative processes.
The Ahmedabad Crime Branch revealed that bookies, including notorious gambler Rakesh Rajdev, transferred Rs 1,414 crore for cricket match bets abroad through Hawala. Harish, alias Kamlesh Jariwala, Rishikesh Adhikar Shinde and Huzefa Kaushar Makasarwala among others have been linked to the betting syndicate.
Two years ago, a 43-year-old woman started a gambling centre in the Diwalibaug area of Adajan after her artisan husband lost his job.
Surat’s Pandesara area, too, is notorious for such activities. Gambling dens in Surat are being run in public places – it could be even near the scenic Tapi River – without fear of the law.
The betting mafia operates from cities like Dubai. The network is so cleverly run that in a raid conducted in Surat last year, SIM cards of Ukraine were unearthed along with 55 dummy bank accounts, 53 debit cards, 30 fake Aadhaar cards, 8 PAN cards, 58 SIM cards, 17 lease agreements, and five clerk licenses.
The cricket betting racket activates itself fully during marquee International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments and the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the past few days, cricket betting rackets have been busted in Kolkata, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh.
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