On Saturday, the Mumbai police crime branch arrested bookie Pankaj Shah, alias Babbu, alias Lotus, who is believed to be the big fish in the match- fixing and betting world. Babbu is a close relative of Thane- based top bookie, Laxmichand Thana, alias LT. Babbu and LT often visited Hansie Cronje’s residence in South Africa. The police also revealed that he is attached to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s gang.
The police arrested Babbu at Mulund seconds after he alighted from an autorickshaw near his residence. Babbu runs the club, Lotus, in Mulund. Babbu and LT were also allegedly close to ex- Thane police commissioner Surendra Mohan Shanghari ( now retired).
Babbu is also top bookie Manoj Metro’s partner and is close to the IPS lobby and ministers.
Last year, after a youth congress leader’s tip off, Babbu was caught in a bar by the Airoli police, but was released without any action.