Three top bookies found to have direct links with Javed Chutani, an aide of Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel

Investigations into the spot-fixing case have revealed that hawala transactions to the tune of Rs. 250 crore were being made per IPL match through a network of bookies operating under the protection of conduits of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his lieutenant Chhota Shakeel.

The three top bookies, Ramesh Vyas, Ashwini Aggrawal alias Tinku Mandi, and Feroze Ansari, have been found to have direct links with Javed Chutani, a close aide of the two underworld dons, said to be operating from Mumbai. He is yet to be arrested.

During interrogation, Vyas is said to have confessed to his links with Chutani. Police sources said he disclosed that besides controlling bookmaking operations in south India, he had been assisting the underworld handlers in managing the hawala channels through which the money from betting changed hands. “He was deeply involved in the betting business besides the hawala operations being carried out at the instance of the underworld dons,” a police officer said.

Although Tinku Mandi started out as a punter in the capital a decade ago, he shifted back to Mumbai where he came in contact with Javed Chutani. The Special Cell, which has arrested his supposed accomplice Sunil Bhatia, has established his links with many other bookies operating from Delhi, Mumbai, Dubai and Pakistan.

The investigations have also revealed that Mandi had made over a dozen trips to Dubai during which he is suspected to have held meetings with bookies operating from there. “We have his call intercepts, voice samples, hand-written diaries and handwriting samples,” said the officer. Interestingly, Mandi was also maintaining an account with the website betfare.com, a sub-account of another bookie operating under the codename Chhota Nagpur.

Feroze Ansari — who the police said had been operating from Mumbai — also had close links with bookies in Dubai and Pakistan. Allegedly a key link in the entire chain of bookies, Ansari was arrested last year in Mumbai in connection with cricket betting. The Special Cell is learnt to have seized from him mobile phones used for contacting handlers operating outside the country.

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