Use SIM cards registered in their own names to evade forgery charges if arrested; also communicate via WhatsApp and BBM to avoid being held in the first place
With the last IPL proving to be a disaster for bookies in the city and in Delhi in terms of rackets busted and arrests made, the ever-ingenious lot have come up with new ways to keep the cops guessing this time around. One particularly clever method involves bookies registering and using SIM cards in their own names.
Police sources say social media, WhatsApp, BBM, and Facebook messenger are a huge hit with punters, as they get to conduct their business in relative privacy. Representational pic
The rationale, sources in the Crime Branch say, is that the punters are usually booked under sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 420 (cheating) of the IPC, and relevant sections of the Prevention of Gambling Act, and Information Technology Act.
Of these, police used to get custody of the bookies only because of the sections of forgery and cheating — which were applied because of the forged SIM cards — as most of the sections of the Gambling Act are bailable. Using their own SIM cards eliminates this possibility.
“Now you can get ten SIM cards in your own name from one mobile operator, and there are eight such operators. So, one person can easily get 80 SIM cards. The bookies used SIM cards that were procured with forged documents earlier, as they were difficult to trace. But they have now begun using their own cards, so they can get out of jail easily if they are caught,” said a Mumbai Crime Branch officer, who played a crucial role in busting the IPL 6 betting scandal.
Tech to the rescue
Bookies have also begun relying heavily on technology to cover their tracks and prevent getting arrested in the first place. Police sources say social media, WhatsApp, BBM, and Facebook messenger are a huge hit with punters, as they get to conduct their business in relative privacy.
Last year, the Mumbai Crime Branch and the Delhi Police had arrested bookies like Shoban Mehta, Ramesh Vyas, Vindu Dara Singh, Jupiter, Tinku Mandi and also former BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in connection with spot fixing in the IPL.
“The bookies have started using WhatsApp and BlackBerry messenger for texts and Skype for making internet calls. All of these are very hard for us to trace, as the companies don’t give access to them,” said a Crime Branch officer. “If we want details, we have to approach the respective companies, which are based in the US.
Their replies are usually in the negative and even if they do give a positive reply, they take so much time that the information is hardly of any use,” he added.