Nagpur emerging as a cricket-betting hub

Nagpur it seems is becoming a cricketing centre where all the action happens outside the field.

updated: October 14, 2007 15:08 IST
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Nagpur it seems is becoming a cricketing centre where all the action happens outside the field.

It has now become the nerve centre of illegal cricket betting in a series of raids before the one day international between India and Australia on Sunday.

The Nagpur police have seized electronic instruments phones and equipments used by bookies and also busted hi tech mini phone exchanges.

The city actually arrived on the cricket betting map when the Nagpur police taped a conversation between West Indies all rounder Marlon Samuels and Mukesh Kochar a trusted bookie of the underworld who operates from Dubai.

On the eve of the India-West Indies ODI in January this year, Samuels was caught discussing the team list and bowling combinations with the bookie.

This time round, the Nagpur police is not taking any chances. In a series of such raids, mobile phone sets, Computers, TV sets have been seized.

"Nagpur witnesses cricket betting to the tune of hundreds of crores. Many of our offenders come from neighbouring states. They leave when the police acts tough but continue their activities through mobiles and laptops. Technology has made our task difficult," said Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, Joint Commissioner of Police.

Last year, nine offences were registered and 21 bookies were arrested in Nagpur. This year, there are 14 offences against 36 bookies or their agents to date.

"You have to legalise it so that the government gets the revenue or make the act non bailable," said Sudeep Jaiswaal, legal expert.

But a less than stringent, Bombay Gambling Act, which governs the state, allows bookies to get away.

Section 4 and 5 entitles them to easy bail and the goods seized have to be returned by the police.