Chennai: A day after three Rajasthan Royal cricketers were arrested in the spot-fixing scandal, Tamil Nadu Police on Friday claimed to have busted a betting racket relating to IPL matches with the arrest of six bookies here and recovered Rs.14 lakh in cash.
The suspected mastermind was operating from Delhi, Crime Branch-CID SPs Perumal and S Rajeswari said, adding, "It is just betting as of now...(a case of) cheating the public." The probe so far has not suggested any match-fixing angle, they said.
The arrests followed searches at 13 locations in the city based on a tip-off, they told a packed press conference here.
It came close on the heels of Delhi police nabbing three IPL players including pacer Sreesanth and 11 bookies for alleged spot fixing.
Today`s arrests of six bookies, all hailing from Chennai, came after investigations showed that they were being given instructions from someone "supervising them" from Delhi and call records had been traced to Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, Rajeswari said adding this was a "very big network".
Based on an information yesterday that some persons were cheating public of money after promising hefty returns on betting, 13 special teams were formed and one Harish Bajaj was picked up, who led police to the rest of the five, she said.
An aggrieved customer who did not get his cut as promised informed the police, she said identifying the accused as Lucky, Gautam, Vedachalam, Deepak Bajaj and Sunil Bajaj.
During the raids the police stumbled upon a "high-tech" and "well-planned" office from where they recovered Rs 14 lakh cash, computers, laptops, mobile phones and fixed lines, she said, adding the dragnet could spread with more persons likely to be picked up.
The betting on the outcome of the match was largely confined to the ongoing IPL though the bookies were involved in other cricket tournaments also and the money placed as bets ranged from Rs 1,000 to Rs five lakh.
The business was being done through word of mouth with each of the bookie having a list of customers.
"They inform the customers through phones and sometimes an individual has paid upto Rs five lakh and the money transaction is done through a courier," Rajeswari said.
The winners were paid 40-60 per cent of the profit and that was also decided by those in Delhi, she said.
The accused, most of whom own businesses, arranged for finance for customers who were in need of it.
Asked if the state police was coordinating with its Delhi counterparts, she replied in the negative but did not rule out such a possibility.
Rajeswari said cases had been filed against the accused for criminal conspiracy and cheating under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act.