Indian judge says police promoting links between sport betting rings, organised crime

New Delhi, Sep.5 (ANI): An additional sessions judge of the Indian judiciary has said police are promoting links between organised crime and sports, specifically cricket.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma aired his warning while hearing an appeal last week in a case involving betting on a World Cup match between Australia and South Africa in 2007.

According to The Guardian, British detectives are believed to be following the money trail of an alleged global betting scam to India, where betting is illegal but remains a massive industry.

An estimated 277million pounds alone was gambled on last year's Indian Premier League (IPL). Illegal bookmakers have already taken bets on the upcoming Champions League Twenty20 tournament, which starts in South Africa this Friday.

But Judge Sharma's allegations last week that much of the money was being siphoned into narcotics and terrorism, with the complicity of police officers, has focused the spotlight on the links between organised crime and betting syndicates.

Sharma threw out the case against two men accused of organising betting on the 2007 match, but then launched into a diatribe on the prevalence of gambling in India, describing the escalating involvement of betting rings in cricket as alarming.

"The extent of money that it generated is diverted to clandestine and sinister objectives like drug trafficking and terrorist activities," he said.

Sharma claimed there were as many as 3,000 illegal bookmakers operating in Delhi alone and that the IPL was the subject of some of the heaviest betting.

"This could not be done under the very nose of police without their knowledge," he added.

The IPL has been a money-spinner for top cricketers, but not those from Pakistan, who missed out on the bonanza as a result of the deterioration of relations between the two countries over the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008.

Meanwhile, British police and the international cricketing authorities are examining allegations of match fixing involving three Pakistan players and an Indian betting ring after a sting operation by the News of the World.

Discussions are continuing over whether there is sufficient evidence to charge Pakistani cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir-with conspiracy to commit fraud. (ANI)

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