Biggest cricket betting racket busted

In one of the biggest cricket betting unearthed in recent times, Income Tax officials have stumbled upon high end gadgets, including an indigenously developed briefcase containing a mini telephone exchange, that was being used to run the racket across the country. The multi-city searches that started Friday have also revealed illegal fund transfer to betting through shell companies, and unaccounted money to a tune of ₹100 crore has been seized.

The full-fledged betting racket, which was operating from a residential premises located in Gurugram, came to light during the investigation of casino operators in Goa, sources in the Income Tax told The Hindu. During the search of the premises in Gurugram, officials found two indigenously developed briefcases containing mini telephone exchanges (using mobile phones), smart phones, laptop, big dish antennas, modem and a high mast antenna. All these had generator back up, sources said, adding that the betting gadgets and the accused have been handed over to the Gurugram police for further investigation.

According to sources, the Investigation Wing of the Income Tax had carried search against various casino operators for alleged hawala transactions and facilitating high value betting. “This is a new sector being searched for the first times,” sources said. Several premises in Goa, Delhi, Gurugram, Noida and Kolkota were searched as part of the operations. It was not revealed whether the betting had been placed on cricket matches in ongoing India- New Zealand series.

The multi city search has also led the IT sleuths to unearth substantial evidences of illegal fund transfers, generation of unaccounted cash income. Laundering unaccounted funds through shell companies based in Kolkota and Delhi was also found along with attempts to regularise unaccounted cash through bogus arbitration orders, sources said.

The search also led to unearthing of unaccounted income of more than ₹100 crore. The casino operators have so far admitted to Rs. 90 crore unaccounted income, sources said, adding that cash exceeding ₹ 2 crore along with unaccounted jewellery and foreign currency has also been seized.

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