The police is clinging on to evidence from various call records to nail the underworld link. The calls that they have managed to tap have all been from Dubai, reports Vicky Nanjappa
The connection between cricket and betting in India has often been spoken about and the ongoing spot-fixing scandal probe by the Delhi police also points towards the same.
Investigations have revealed the names of notorious underworld gangsters, such as Dawood Ibrahim, Sunil Abhichandani (Dubai) and Anees Ibrahim. However, these persons are outside India and are in countries from where they are unlikely to be extradited.
Although a lot has been said about this underworld link, and the police somewhat acknowledges it, they are unable to take to a logical end.
Dawood and Anees are in Karachi and there is virtually no hope for their extradition. Sunil was in Dubai in 2012, but there is no guarantee that he is still there, considering the fact that there was a look-out notice against him in the same year.
Delhi police sources tell rediff.com that to connect the underworld and the accused is a tough process.
“We are relying a lot on circumstantial evidence which can link them to the underworld,” says an investigating officer.
C D Sahay, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing points out that there is no doubt of an underworld link to the betting racket in cricket.
“Most of the betting is done by people with influence and money, so there has to be a major syndicate in place (for that). These bookies are just not into betting, but also fixing games. All the leads have so far pointed to the D Company. The underworld’s name being attached to any betting scandal is no mere coincidence,” he says.
A senior officer points out, “It is not only the D Company, but all sorts of persons associated with the underworld are associated with the racket. We have seen in all the previous cases that the modus operandi is pretty much the same and they have used parties and out-of-work Bollywood actors as traps. There is a fair degree of blackmail involved, which happens when the players refuse.”
However, the underworld has operated in a different manner in the past several years. When the betting scam broke out in India in 2000, it was evident that the captains -- Mohammad Azaruddin (India), Salim Malik (Pakistan) and Hansie Cronje (South Africa) – were ‘fixed’. It was essential for them to ‘fix’ a captain to change the course of the game.
However, these days it is more about spot-fixing and not the game, and hence there is no need for the involvement of the captain. Any vulnerable player in the team can be ‘fixed’, since what is required is to concede a certain amount of runs, misfield or even drop a catch.
Meanwhile, the cops are clinging on to evidence that has emerged out of various call records to nail the underworld link. The calls that they have managed to tap have all been from Dubai, and according to the police, the caller is a D Company operative. The police also claim to have call records in their possession which they say were made from Karachi to Dubai regarding the Indian Premier League spot-fixing.
The police say that two persons -- Noor and Qasim (from Karachi and Dubai respectively) --controlled this racket. Qasim’s name cropped up during the questioning of Rajasthan Royals player Ajit Chandila, according to the Delhi police.
However, Chandila may deny saying any of this to the police later claiming duress, so it is up to the police to build the evidence to prove the link.
A Herculean task, but the cops appear to be confident of cracking the case.