Bookies visiting Goa as tourists to run IPL betting rackets: cops

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Panaji: Within a month, Goa police have busted seven Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket betting rackets, involving crores of rupees. These rackets were being operated by bookies, who were staying in Goa as tourists.

Out of the seven cases, the Calangute police have busted four, while the Crime Branch police have busted three such rackets of which one case came to light late Sunday night at a villa in Arpora.

According to police, it is easier for bookies to come down to Goa as tourists and avoid suspicion. Police said that based on information received, raids will continue against such illegal activities so as to discourage such people (tourists) from coming to Goa for such illegal purposes.

Crime Branch Superintendent of Police Shobhit Saksena said, “These people (bookies) come to Goa as tourists. Goa is tourist-friendly and a lot of tourists come here. And may be to avoid suspicion, these people (bookies) are coming to Goa and staying in hotels/villas from where they operate the online betting rackets.” He said, “Owing to the excellent ground level police intelligence, we have been able to bust these rackets and hopefully henceforth, it will discourage such people from coming to Goa for such illegal purposes.”

On the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, a Crime Branch team comprising of police inspectors Rahul Parab, Narayan Chimulkar and police sub-inspector Nitin Halarnkar busted an IPL betting racket, which was being operated from a villa in Arpora.

The accused had (during various cricket matches) accepted bets of over Rs 1 crore, police said. The accused – Shakti Punjabi, Vishal Ahuja and Hitesh Keshwani – all residents of Gandhidham in Gujarat, have been arrested. They were found accepting IPL bets using mobile phones.

Police said the accused were feeding these bets into high-tech computer software installed on their laptop. Police said the accused had accepted bets of over Rs 1.17 crore from their customers based in Gujarat.