Cops have grasped the ‘missing link’ connecting small-time actor Vindu Dara Singh and bookmaker Ramesh Vyas both now in police custody. Paresh Bhatia, who had managed to elude the law so far, was among six bookies apprehended in Goa late on Sunday night.
Bhatia was the one responsible for collecting deposited money from a particular bank account and distributing it among bookies and punters. According to Mumbai Crime Branch, the accused had escaped to Goa after his counterparts were arrested in the IPL betting racket. Both Paresh Bhatia, and Sandeep Bhatia who has also been arrested are well-known bookies in Mumbai and were holed up in a bungalow on Calangute beach.
Goa police says that betting business was in full swing when the place was raided, as wagers were being taken on the IPL final between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK). However, initial investigations have failed to throw up any links between the six arrested and the Delhi bookies or any cricketer, a senior police officer, who wished to remain anonymous said.
A special investigation team (SIT) has been formed to be led by North Goa superintendent of police Vishram Borkar which will probe this betting racket. “Six persons were arrested from the rented premises and equipment like laptops and mobile phones have been confiscated,” deputy inspector general (DIG) of police OP Mishra told reporters in Panaji last evening.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Crime Branch has arrested bookies Dinesh Sharma and Kishore Pablani from Pimpri in Pune, taking the total number of catches to 12. Officials said Sharma and Pablani used to work for Kishore Pune, who is on the run. Cops here also intend to seek the custody of bookie Tinku Delhi alias Ashwin Jay Narayan Agarwal, who was in touch with cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, from Delhi police.
Officials say Tinku was also in contact with Vindu Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan. It’s interesting to note that Delhi police had approached Mumbai cops for information from Sreesanth’s seized laptop, but were asked to come with a court order. Now Mumbai police will go to Delhi, armed with a court order, to seek Tinku’s custody. They might also request charge of Sreesanth and the other two players.
Mumbai Crime Branch yesterday also carried out a search on the 70-ft yacht of Meiyappan moored in Chennai Marina. “We have found a phone that we were looking for. This was used by Gurunath to get in touch with Vindu,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, Mumbai Crime branch.
Police also found a diary from Gurunath’s home that had names of several players, including those not from CSK. Cops intend to interrogate Meiyappan about the same. They have also recovered CCTV footage from a hotel in Juhu, which shows Prem Taneja, Pawan Jaipur and Vindu Dara Singh with some foreign women.
Kandivli police in 2009 had arrested four persons including the Bhatias for accepting bets during a one-day international match between India and Australia. Following a tip-off, cops raided a flat at Prabhu Nivas building in Kandivli and arrested Paresh Bhatia, Sandeep Bhatia, Manish Shah and Ketan Shah, and recovered two TV sets, 63 mobile phones, three laptops, and Rs 1,300 in cash.
Chennai hotelier to be summoned
Mumbai police has also decided to issue summons to Vikram Agarwal promoter of Radisson Blue, Chennai who, cops said, used to operate as a bookie under the alias Victor. “Agarwal is an old friend of Gurunath Meiyappan who had introduced him to Vindu Dara Singh. We will question him to determine what his exact role was,” said an officer from Mumbai Crime Branch. Police suspect Agarwal was in touch with some cricketers.