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Lawyer retells police 3G story: gangster, girls and gifts

New Delhi, Feb. 10: A member of the apex court’s IPL probe panel has said in a separate report, quoting Delhi police, that Dawood Ibrahim was a key part of the betting/match-fixing racket in which girls, gifts and threats were used to induce cricketers.

Nilay Dutta, a senior Supreme Court advocate, said the names of many international and national players had cropped up during the probe but the leads were not worked on subsequently.

In his 84-page report submitted today, Dutta said girls and expensive gifts were widely used by the cricket betting crime syndicate headed by underworld don Dawood to draw young cricketers into the racket. Those who refused to yield to the allurements were physically threatened, the report said.

Dutta also sought invoking of the dreaded Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act to rid the game of the menace as existing laws are not deterrent.

According to Dutta, Delhi police investigations had disclosed the involvement of several former players used by bookies/fixers to gain access to various cricketers and induce them to join the betting syndicate.

“According to the Delhi Police, the modus operandi of this syndicate was using expensive gifts/cash/girls to induce young cricketers to join this syndicate.

“This organised crime syndicate, besides controlling illegal betting, was indulging in fixing performances of players and also the rates of betting. The rates of betting were communicated from abroad to various mega bookies.

“The syndicate of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar was also using musclemen and henchmen like Shaikh Shakeel @ Shakil Babu Mohiddin Shaikh @ Chhota Shakeel to intimidate various actors of this syndicate to comply with their directives.

“Threats of use of violence were used to settle disputes connected with payments as well as to intimidate players who failed to perform after accepting gifts/girls/money,” he said.

Investigations further revealed that Dawood and his aides decided the initial betting rates for each match which, as the match progresses, move closer to the rates that reflect the real status of the match. It is during this initial period that D-Company bookies make huge profits.

The rates fixed by D-Company have credibility as several matches/sessions are fixed by them and they need not reflect the actual betting market sentiments followed globally by gamblers who access websites legal in their host countries such as Betfair, the report said.

“It would therefore appear that all investigations made by Delhi Police and Mumbai remained confined to fringe players and localised investigation into the activities of bookies and fixers. It would appear that what was investigated was merely the tip of the iceberg.

“Names of various other national and international players came up in course of the investigations but these informations have not been investigated by any agency.

“The Delhi Police disclosed that Mr. S. Sreesanth had given them information to the effect that three famous players representing the Indian team were also involved with bookies and were getting flats and gifts from them.

“Save and except questioning one of these three players, no further action was initiated by the Delhi Police,” the report stated.

According to Dutta, the betting syndicate was operating virtually in the entire country today and more particularly in the mega markets of Delhi and adjoining areas, Mumbai, Chennai, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Goa, Pune etc.

Extensive use of electronic channels facilitates instant betting and settlement of dues. The betting involves a turnover of thousands of crores and the windfall profit ultimately benefits known terrorists, who route the money to indulge in terrorist activities and thus poses a serious threat to national security.

The report said the information shared between law enforcement agencies of Delhi and Mumbai or other police forces were viewed with suspicion and were not followed through in the manner required.

“The fact that Mumbai police did not accept the role of Dawood Ibrahim in the betting racket in Mumbai evinces that the Delhi Police and Mumbai police are working at cross purposes in so far as the link to Dawood Ibrahim is concerned.

“In such a grave matter of national security pertaining to involvement of a terrorist gang in running illegal hawala operations in the lucrative betting market in cricket, the two top police organisations, one of the political capital and other of the financial capital of India, cannot be permitted to work at cross purposes,” he said.

He said the Supreme Court could, therefore, consider directing a comprehensive probe into the entire betting and match-fixing episode in cricket and in particular in IPL by a competent statutory investigative agency with a view to identifying and prosecuting the criminals involved.

Dutta said it was incumbent upon the IPL governing council and the BCCI to send a clear and emphatic message that dishonesty in cricket would not be tolerated. The most effective way of conveying this message was by the prescription and imposition of severe and stringent punishment.

“One notes with utmost pain that the folklore of corruption and such other malpractices that have come to surround the game of cricket and in particular, IPL, unfortunately has a ring of truth to it.

“Roots of corruption and malpractices have crept in deep into the game of cricket, more particularly, the IPL, and are seeping into the game at an alarming rate. If unchecked, the same would be damaging for the game of cricket and defeat public confidence in the integrity of the game.

“The problem is required to be addressed with absolute seriousness and with a strong determination to cleanse the game. Any complacency is sure to shake public confidence.

“It would be worthwhile to remind ourselves that the game of cricket is only as strong as the support it receives from the public,” Dutta’s report concluded.