In a major breakthrough, the Mumbai police have arrested India’s top most bookies Devendra Kothari, Sonu Malad and three others from a plush flat at Lokhandwala Township, Kandivli (East) yesterday evening. A special team headed by senior inspector Arun Chavhan, acting on a tip-off, laid a trap at Whispering Palm building, and caught the bookies red-handed in the 18th floor flat while accepting bets in the IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings.
Police said they have seized 20 mobile phones, two laptops, Rs 5 lakh and a television from the flat.According to cops, Devendra Kothari alias Bhaijee and Sonu Malad alias Dedhfutiya are big names in the betting fraternity, while the remaining three are just their assistants. Cops said that Kothari is an international bookie and accepts bets from punters based in Dubai, Australia, Africa and Pakistan.
It’s alleged that he owns more than 150 flats in Mumbai and other assets around Rs 4,000 crore. Sonu Malad who lives in Agarwal Residency, Kandivali is ranked eighth in India and fourth in Mumbai in the list of top bookies. “We found the arrested accused accepting bets on mobile phones and entering the betting transactions on laptops. We have arrested them under the Mumbai Gambling Act and the Information Technology Act, 2000,” said Arun Chavhan. Seven months back when cops had raided a flat during a Champions League T20 cricket match in Shastri Nagar, Andheri, Sonu Malad had managed to escape. He was recently arrested, but was realised on bail.