Two of the most well-known worldwide bookies, Sonu Yogendra Jalan and Devendra Kothari, who worked under the infamous Junior Kolkata were arrested last week. Their arrest in the area of Kandivli East by the Mumbai crime branch came about as part of an operation into an international illegal cricket betting scheme.
Jalan and Kothari were caught taking bets during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between the teams Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings. They were detained under the prevention of gambling act, Information technology act and relevant parts of the Indian Penal Code. The Indian Premier League (IPL) has recently been hit with numerous reports of match fixing and corruption; some of which have allegedly involved Indian cricket players. Sonu told authorities he paid Rs 10 cr to a Sri Lanken cricket team in order to fix a match. He also said that other cricketers from India were involved.
This arrest comes after one last year where both suspects were detained but Kothari’s involvement in that case was not substantiated. Jalan also admitted to attempting to bribe an Indian Police Officer.
The organisers of this betting system are believed to be a Pakistan based gang under the control of Chhota Shakeel. The additional commissioner for Police Devan Bharti commented on how well prepared the gang was, “having all the betting assessment software with them”. They also involved the UK gambling site Betfair through the opening of customer accounts whose details and passwords were given to and used by Jalan and Kothari. Customers were believed to have been from Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and Saudi Arabia and links to the gang were discovered in London, Belgium and the Indian cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana. In addition to two further suspects being arrested, numerous electronic devices, incriminating papers and cash was seized.
Many argue that legalizing and regulating betting would do a lot to reduce match fixing and other corruption that results from prohibition.