| The ground floor of AC 70, Salt Lake, from where the betting racket operated. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha
A night swoop in Salt Lake busted a betting racket with international links, exposed jottings with names of “a few cricketers” and sent cops in several states scurrying for more.
The three persons arrested late on Wednesday admitted to “heavy betting” during every World Cup match, involving clients spread across the country. Two laptops, four fixed phones and two mobile phones were seized from the Salt Lake hub, along with diaries containing names and numbers, including those of some cricketers.
“We received a tip-off that a betting racket was operating from the ground floor of AC 70 in Salt Lake. We conducted a raid on Wednesday night and arrested Adarsh Mohta, Jitesh Khaitan and Dinesh Yadav,” said Praveen Kumar, superintendent of police (North 24-Parganas).
Police in some other state headquarters were immediately alerted by Kumar and his team. Delhi Police sources confirmed on Thursday that they were working in tandem with their counterparts in Calcutta and Mumbai to spread the net wide for other bookies.
“Names of some cricketers were found in diaries recovered from the bookies arrested in Calcutta, but it would be premature to conclude any player involvement in the racket,” clarified a senior official.
“It is natural for the diaries of bookies to list names of cricketers. They try to figure out the team composition, the batting line-up for every match and all these may have been jotted down in the diary. Only on analysing the context in which the names were written can we assess the involvement of a player,” he added.
Back in Bidhannagar (North) police station — where the three bookies have been remanded in custody for a week — the focus was on mastermind Adarsh Mohta and his modus operandi.
“Mohta, a garments dealer, shifted from Baguiati to the rented Salt Lake address five months ago. Jitesh and Dinesh were his employees, who would receive calls from clients in Calcutta, Howrah and New Delhi and place their bets,” said Prasun Banerjee, sub-divisional police officer of Salt Lake.
Preliminary investigation showed that the entire transaction would take place in cash, leaving no money trail behind. “We hope to get a lot more information from the laptops and the mobile phones that have been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory,” said a police official.
A lot of the action now shifts to Delhi. “Most of the bookies, including those arrested in Calcutta, are involved in international betting. The biggies are still at large. We are on the look-out for at least five major players in the betting game,” said Neeraj Thakur, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch).