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Trio’s arrest smashes bookie hub

The city police busted a cricket-betting syndicate linked to Mumbai bookies and punters across the world, who had placed heavy bets on five World Cup matches, including the India-Australia one-dayer.

Bookies Rajesh Agarwal and Arun Jain were picked up from an apartment on Hariram Goenka Street late on Sunday night. A third, Arun Lakhotia, was detained in his Nager Bazar residence early on Monday. He fell ill and had to be hospitalised.

Deputy commissioner (central) Zulfiquar Hasan said police had the evidence to link the trio to Mumbai bookies. Information culled from laptops, which were seized from the bookies, reveals they were collecting information on World Cup matches in South Africa from punters across the world through the Net.

Police have seized scrolling sheets, which indicated that the bookies had accepted bets for five World Cup matches, including the Centurion Park fixture between Australia and India. The total amount was pegged at Rs 1 crore for the past five matches.

Investigations revealed that Agarwal, Jain and Lakhotia are close associates of Basantlal Durjari, who operates with bookies Dinesh Jain and Suman Kejriwal. Detective department sources said Durjari travels frequently from Mumbai or Delhi to Calcutta and is “extremely well-connected” in the country's betting syndicate.

He had been arrested in Calcutta on charges of betting during the 1996 cricket World Cup.

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