The BJP’s Dibrugarh nagar mandal vice-president Mithun Das and four others have been arrested for allegedly running an online cricket betting racket on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
Police said Das was the kingpin of the racket and operated it from his business establishment in the Naliapool area of this town.
“After getting information that online betting on IPL was going on at Das’s shop in Naliapool, we raided his shop on Sunday night and found five of them running the racket. We seized five mobile sets from them,” an official at Dibrugarh police station said.
Das was taken into custody along with Tridiv Das, Bapan Bhowmik, Sudip Sarkar and Ramen Talukdar.
A case has been registered against the five at Dibrugarh police station under Section 384 (punishment for extortion) of the IPC read with Section 14 (any police officer may apprehend any person found betting) of the Assam Game and Betting Act. The accused were produced before court on Monday. They are being interrogated by the police on the modus operandi of the betting racket.
The police said the bookies use to place bets on behalf of punters from Upper Assam towns, involving sums as high as Rs 1 lakh on a single bet.
A police official said betting involves an illegal business of crores and bookies are arrested from different parts of Assam every year for betting on IPL.
This year, the twelfth season of IPL is under way.
Sources said bookies earn a lot of money every year through online betting on IPL. The IPL betting business is run by local bookies from private hotels and restaurants in a well coordinated manner.
On April 9, an IPL betting racket was busted in Guwahati and a bookie, Subham Baid, was arrested by the crime branch. Baid, who hails from Shantipur locality of Guwahati, has been accused of running a betting racket in the city. An amount of Rs 46,000 and incriminating documents were recovered from him.
When contacted, Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan said he didn’t know about the matter and would enquire about it.
Dibrugarh district Congress president Atuwa Munda said he wasn’t surprised. He said the BJP talks about zero-tolerance and corruption-free Assam and India but its leaders are neck-deep into corruption.
“We have faith in the law and the police. He will be punished according to the law,” Munda said.