Rotru, Guru, Jack and Helicopter were not the only ones to enter the bookies’ lexicon. Mumbai Crime Branch officials puzzling out the multi-crore IPL betting riddle have uncovered the code that ended all clandestine operations in a jiffy the moment bookies realised cops were at the door.
On May 14, the betting syndicate was disbanded in a matter of seconds in the face of a police raid at Kalbadevi, with three brief words: Bhaav ek rupiya. The cryptogram worked like a self-destructive message in sci-fi movies, and all involved in the illegal consortium broke up to drop below the radar. According to Branch officials, when their team forayed the Kalbadevi den of the bookies - the precise location of which has not been disclosed - they recovered 92 phones of which 30 were used to transfer calls to Pakistan, while three were specifically used to transfer calls from Dubai.
Interrogation of Ramesh Vyas, who was arrested with fellow bookies Ashok Vyas and Pandurang Kadam that night from the hideout, has revealed that soon after the Branch officers of the Property Cell and the Crime Investigation Unit (CIU) came knocking at his door, he alerted the entire syndicate over the phone line with the code: Bhaav ek rupiya.
“These were the last three words Vyas spoke over the phone, and all the lines got disconnected instantly. At the time of the raid, we could not realise the gravity of these three words. However, as investigations proceeded, Vyas told us that with this codeword, he had sent all the bookies in his circle off police radar,” revealed an officer from the Crime Branch on the condition of anonymity. On hearing the cryptic words, all the international phone lines got disconnected within a matter of moments, leaving the officers clueless.
Delhi cops’ one-up
Sources in the Crime Branch let on that the codeword not only alerted the bookies but the Delhi police as well, who were making parallel investigations in the case since April. The collective quiet on the multiple phone lines pricked up the ears of the Delhi cops, who had been snooping in on them for over a month.
They realised something was amiss, and plunged into action. Acting swiftly, they dispatched a team to Mumbai and arrested Rajasthan Royals cricketers S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila overnight. “This was the only reason the Delhi police did not wait for the remaining eight matches of the IPL-6 series and went ahead with the arrests, fearing that Mumbai police will crack the case before them,” the officer said.
Crime Branch officials believe that if the lines had not been disconnected on the night of Vyas’s arrest, they would have been the first to unravel the spot-fixing nexus. Police said that Vyas had been a prime catch for them as he was in touch with bookies in Dubai and Pakistan. He was the mode of link between the Pakistan and Indian bookies. He was arrested by the Delhi police after he was released on bail by the Killa Court, while all his fellow bookies arrested by the Crime Branch are out on bail.