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Police to keep a tab on betting

Calcutta: Forced by circumstances, the city has been starved of its share of IPL VII matches so far. But the floodgates will be thrown open for the fans on Tuesday when the Kolkata Knight Riders host the Chennai Super Kings.

While it’s obvious that all eyes will be on the Gautam Gambhirs and the Mahendra Singh Dhonis, Calcutta police will not be having the luxury of appreciating the big hits as they will be busy keeping an eye on the betting syndicates of the city.

On some other occasion, it could have been passed off as just a routine exercise from the police. But such turbulent has been the times for Indian cricket, especially the IPL, that such concern from the police carries a lot of significance.

A Calcutta police team, led by commissioner of police Surajit Kar Purkayastha, made an inspection of the Eden on Saturday evening. After an almost two-hour long exercise, Purkayastha was asked if they were planning any special steps considering the fixing and betting scandals that has rocked the IPL. He replied in the affirmative.

“Yes, we will be keeping a watch on the betting syndicates of the city… We have already busted two-three groups and will be vigilant to stop any such practice,” Purkayastha said.

The police were happy with the arrangements made by the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for the four IPL VII matches to be staged at the Eden. “The arrangements looked fine… We had a briefing today. We inspected the various facilities and are satisfied,” the commissioner said.

While the fans expect the Knights to put up a cracker of a show, the CAB is planning some fireworks of their own.

The association has requested permission from the police to have a fireworks show on May 27 night, when the venue hosts Qualifier 1. The police has asked CAB to furnish a request letter before it decides on the matter. Permission from the Pollution Control Board will also be required.

“The Calcutta police has always co-operated with us to host matches successfully and so we hope to get the go ahead from them,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said on Saturday.

However, there won’t be any changes in the security set-up for the matches; it will be the same ‘three-tier’ security system that the city police usually puts up during matches at the Eden.

CAB joint-secretary Subir Ganguly informed that over 125 CCTV cameras have been installed at the stadium.

Purkayastha added that the police are working to work out ways of ensuring a smoother dispersal of crowd at the end of the matches.

Meanwhile, according to the CAB, around 45,000 tickets have already been sold for Tuesday’s match.

“We are expecting a full house… There’s a lot of interest among the fans, more so because the Knights have been playing well. There are two more days to go for the match and so we hope that we will see a packed Eden on Tuesday,” Dey said.

The CAB brass are busy preparing their guest lists, which includes BCCI interim president (IPL matters) Sunil Gavaskar and former captains Gundappa Viswanath and Dilip Vengsarkar.

The Eden is sporting a purple and golden look, complete with larger-than-life cut outs of the star Knights. It’s action time.