In a major development, the Mumbai Crime Branch, which had unearthed a betting racket by arresting three bookies on Tuesday, has learnt that the arrested bookies were also accepting bets on international club football matches.
Police said punters in the city placed considerable bets in April during the high-profile Champions League quarter and semi-final matches that were held between April 2 and 30. Bets were also placed on English Premier League matches, police said.
“The amount involved in football betting is less when compared to cricket, as the viewers are few. But it’s a developing area what with several sports channels broadcasting matches from different European leagues,” a Crime Branch officer said.
The property cell of Mumbai police had arrested three bookies, including Ramesh Vyas, a top bookie who would connect lines between bookies located in Pakistan, Dubai and India, from a flat in Kalbadevi.
“We seized the record of the football matches on which the arrested bookies accepted bets and also a list with names of several bookies,” said the Crime Branch officer.
Vyas, a former associate of high-profile bookie Shoban Mehta alias Kalachowkie, told cops that the betting syndicate is entirely managed from India, as there are various websites where one can bet on football.
According to the police, punters call up bookies, place their bets on a particular football match, and the bookies in turn place the wager on the website.
Police said Vyas had lost around Rs 25 lakhs in betting recently. Bookies have taken bets on Italian, English and Spanish league football matches, and after the Delhi police arrested three Rajasthan Royal cricketers, eight bookies for their involvement in spot-fixing in the ongoing IPL-VI, most of the bookies have now gone underground, said cops.