Two cricket bookies organising a betting racket with high-end set-top boxes that can record conversations of punters for the sake of evidence were arrested by the West Zone police on Friday.

An amount of Rs. 1.50 lakh, a modern set-top box, a TV set and a laptop were seized from the arrested, K.R. Thammi Raju, 42, and A. Jagdish, 41, the West Zone DCP, Stephen Ravindra told a press conference. The arrested persons had been organising cricket betting for the last four years having developed a network of over 30 sub-bookies and group of known punters across the State.

The duo was using a top-end set-top box to which 25 mobile phones were connected enabling them to answer calls simultaneously. The gadget also has the facility to record conversations made over these phones. “This would act as evidence so that the punters cannot backtrack later,” the Jubilee Hills Sub-Inspector Nageswara Rao said.

The accused would use a headphone, which is also connected to the set-top box, and listen to what the punter or the sub-bookie says. Each cellphone was dedicated to a particular bookie. As the phone rings, a light would glow. The accused would hear what the punter or bookie says and pass on the information to a worker who keeps entering the bet amounts into a laptop.

A specially developed software was being used by the accused to incorporate details of the bet amounts of the punters or bookies. The DCP said that the police were getting information that some persons were organising betting on the cricket World Cup final match to be played at Mumbai on Saturday.

“Some of them are keeping big screens at select places so that the punters can bet money as the match progresses. We're keeping an eye on all clubs and such private places,” the DCP said.

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