A distant, but clear Dawood Ibrahim connection is unfolding as the police continue their investigation into cricket betting and the nexus between bookies and celebrities, after busting an IPL betting racket late last month, senior inspector Pradeep Sharma of Thane Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) said on Monday.
Sharma said the details of the links between the betting case and the gangster were unfolding after the Thane AEC arrested top bookie, Sonu Jalan, alias Sonu Malad, last month. Sharma said the syndicate Jalan ran in India was a part of a global group operated from Pakistan by two top Dawood aides, identified as Ethesam and Doctor (an alias).
The police said that their interrogation of Jalan helped identify other players in the syndicate who are operating from outside India. An AEC official said these include an erstwhile Bandra-based bookie, Junior Kolkata, who is running his business from Thailand; a Bhopal-based bookie, Munir Khan, who is in Dubai; a bookie from Borivli, Chirag Vallav, who is in Dubai; and local operatives Kamal Mala from Ahmedabad, and Raja Tanna from Malad.
Kothari is handled by Dawood’s aides Ethesam and Doctor in Pakistan. The police are now planning to invoke the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case, which will help them gather more evidence against the accused. “We have already sent a proposal to the home department about invoking MCOCA. It is required to effectively gather evidence against the players in the global betting syndicate that is being run from multiple countries across the world, with its centre in Pakistan,” Sharma said.
Sharma said they will arrest of a few more people involved, after which they will approach the Interpol, through the CBI, for red corner notices (RCN) to arrest and bring back bookies in the syndicate to India. “We will take the case to a logical end by busting the global betting syndicate,” Sharma said.
He, however, made it clear that the police have not come across any evidence so far to suggest that Sonu or his syndicate had any links with match-fixing or spot-fixing in any tournament.