A bookie who was allegedly accepting bets on Indian Premier League matches was arrested and cash as well as gold worth Rs. 1.54 crore was seized from his possession here on Saturday, the police said.
“Vinod Mulchandani of the Satellite area has been arrested for accepting bets on IPL-6 matches. A sum of Rs. 1.28 crore in cash, 10 gold biscuits (weighing 1 kg) worth Rs. 26 lakh, 12 cellphones, six electronic board chargers, two laptops, two Internet dongles, an ipod and a driving licence have been recovered,” Crime Branch Joint Commissioner (Crime) A.K. Sharma told reporters here.
Primary interrogation of Mulchandani revealed that his accomplice Sheetal Shah and other bookies Jeetu Tharad, Rakesh Rajkot, Kiran Thakkar and Chirag Maninagar also accepted bets on matches and passed on information to a top-level bookie in Mumbai, the police said. They are on the lookout for his accomplice.
According to the police, Mulchandani’s network was spread across Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Ahmedabad, from where he used to accept bets from punters and sub-agents.
“An SMS from an unknown number on Hyderabad losing a certain match 10-15 days ago was found on his mobile. He was asked to make maximum gains from the information. We will trace that number,” Mr. Sharma said.
The arrest comes after the Gujarat government issued an advisory to police chiefs of all districts to crack down on bookies and bettors.
The Gujarat link has figured prominently in the multicrore IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Gujarat player Amit Singh was arrested by the Delhi police last Thursday for allegedly offering money to paceman S. Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates — Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — for indulging in spot-fixing in at least three matches.
Following their arrest, another bookie Manan Bhatt from the State was also held.
A day before arrest, Mulchandani was in Diu and was to leave for Mount Abu, the police said, adding he used to frequently change places to evade police.
“In addition to accessing his call data records, voices of his partners, which have been recorded on his cellphones, will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory. The laptops will be thoroughly examined,” Mr. Sharma said.
The 43-year-old, born in Junagadh, has been involved in cricket betting for the past 15 years. After dropping out of Class VIII, he started selling lottery tickets before shifting to garments business in which he suffered huge losses, Thereafter he got involved in accepting bets for cricket matches, the police said.
Mr. Sharma said Mulchandani ran betting via an angadia (courier) centre he had set up in Bhavnagar.
The police said that in 1996, the Bhavnagar B division police registered a gambling case against him. In 2000, the C division police booked him for accepting bets on matches.
Thereafter, in 2008, the B division police again arrested him and last year, the Bopal police, coming under the Ahmedabad Rural police, arrested him for allegedly accepting bets on IPL-5 matches, the police said.