New Delhi, July 25: The black money panel has its task cut out now that it will focus on cricket betting as well. The focus on cricket betting especially during the Indian Premier League which has stakes of nearly Rs 40,000 crore a year will be the toughest.
The betting money that flows in and out during a major cricketing event does so in all directions.
The added problem to cricket betting is the underworld and the black money panel will have to take the assistance of various agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and also the local police.
The stakes keep getting higher
During the IPL 6, the reported sum that was doing the rounds in form of cricket betting was nearly 40,000 crore. There were bets of up to Rs 600 crore being placed on each and every game leading up to the semi-finals and finals.
The last three games of the tournament would fetch up to nearly Rs 1,200 crore in terms of betting stakes, a report of the Intelligence Bureau had suggested.
What was revealed was that this huge amount of money was not restricted to bets alone. There was a considerable amount of money that was being thrown into the ring as part of a spot fixing racket as well.
Officials tell OneIndia that cricket betting will remain as long as the game is there. However the panel along with the rest of the agencies could only ensure that the sums involved come down drastically.
Tracking the betting modules
It is more or less a known fact that a majority of the betting syndicates are controlled by the underworld. They have set up multiple modules which have been assigned different tasks to ensure that the betting racket is on. Year after year they find newer ways to ensuring that betting is carried out.
Bookies part of the underworld have decided that fixing the outcome of a match is extremely difficult. Hence they relied heavily on spot fixing which was relatively easier as it involved booking just a few players.
For any panel or agency which is looking into the issue of cricket betting, they would need to work in tandem with police agencies outside the country.
The biggest betting syndicate emerges out of Dubai. It has been a hub of betting and fixing ever since the days of the Sharjah cricket cup.
The bookies based out of Dubai are the one who write down the number of runs or wickets that would be taken in a particular session and circulate it around their members. The members are supposed to bet on the number of runs or wickets that would be taken during that session.
The syndicate in Dubai set up mini modules in India as per a probe conducted by the Enforcement Directorate. While the syndicate is controlled out of Dubai most of the time, the mini modules ensure that the betting goes down to the wire.
Operating in isolation
One module would not know the existence of another. Say for instance the Delhi module operatives would never be in direct touch with the ones at Jaipur. Between Dubai and Delhi there would be only one contact person.
These persons often avoid too many players in this game since the more the number of persons the bigger the chances of them being exposed.
During the questioning of the various bookies that the ED has arrested, they have not been able to find out the names of those controlling the racket from abroad. Those abroad remain anonymous and hence their names never reach up to the investigating agency.
Chasing hawala brokers
The Hawala network continues to be the most preferred form of transaction even today. This the safest bet and money begins to come into India at least 15 days before the tournament starts. Once again the one placing the bets and the person collecting the money are never interlinked.
The money is dropped off at a neutral location and is collected each time it is needed. The key to the success of these modules is that the syndicate makes sure that the interaction between these members operating in India is very limited.
The biggest hawala network continues to be in Delhi. This is where at least 80 per cent of the money is coming into. The money that is earned in India is also sent back to Dubai through the same network.
There is a line of difference that the investigators would have to draw now. There are instances where bets are placed and there are others where sessions are fixed. The ED says that both instances would be approached with an iron fist as betting is illegal in India.
The other issue is that when it comes to an international syndicate controlling the racket the extradition becomes extremely difficult. The problem is that many bookies controlling the racket are based out of countries where betting is legal. This makes the legal process to bring such persons down extremely difficult.