CBI Match Fixing Report (contd...)

II. BETTING SYNDICATES IN INDIA

(a) THE HISTORY Although betting on cricket matches was taking place on a one-to-one basis on a small scale prior to 1983, betting through syndicates, ironically, started on a major scale only after India's triumph in the 1983 World Cup. This was the period when live telecast of matches featuring India, both at home and aborad, started on a regular basis. Initially, betting was restricted to a group of friends, but by the later 1980s, it had become more organised, and a number of bookies spawned in major metropolitan cities. An interesting feature of this racket was the fact that this was set in motion mainly by bookies who were involved in betting at horse racing.

By early 1990s, betting on cricket had spread across India and had attained a measure of sophistication. Typically, all that a bookie needed to start his profession was a telephone connection, a television set, a not book and a clientele who were basically known to the bookie through various contacts. As at the race course, in cricket also, a person who places bets with a bookie is called a punter. Any cricket match which is shown live on television, whether an international, domestic, veteran or festival match, activates the betting syndicate.

All transactions in this trade are carried on by word of mouth. For example, if punter wants to place his bets in particular match, all that he does is call up his bookie over telephone, find out the 'odds' and place his bets for a particular amount. No money changes hand at this point of time and the punter's bet is duly entered by the bookie in his note book. After the conclusion of the match, exchange of money takes place and the note book is destroyed.

In the early years, betting was mainly confined to the final outcome of a match, but, over a period of time, betting on other aspects like the toss, individual scores, team scores, etc. generally termed "spread betting", also started. By the middle of 1990s, with a surfeit of one-day matches being shown live on television and also the onset of cable revolution in which international matches featuring countries other than India also began to be telecast live, betting had taken the shape of a massive organised racket.

The introduction of mobile phone in the mid '90s also gave a major fillip to this racket, since bookies and punters were no longer solely dependent on P&T lines for communication and could also be more mobile. Bombay emerged as the major center for betting, followed by Delhi and other metropolitan cities such as Calcutta, Chennai, Ahmedabad and even smaller district towns.

Bombay took the lead in this racket since the 'odds' on which bets were placed in any match throughout India was determined by the bookies based in Bombay. Currently also Bombay remains the base around which all betting operations in India revolve.


(b)BETTING PROCEDURE: The 'odds' for a particular match are decided among bookies based on certain accepted criteria such as the relative strength of the two opposing teams, previous record, pitch and weather conditions, team composition, etc. for example, if two teams, 'A' and 'B', are scheduled to play, and where 'A' is perceived to be relatively weaker than 'B', then the odds may be 60 paise on 'B' and 150 paise on 'A'.

After these 'odds' have been decided upon, primarily by bookies based in Mumbai, they are transmitted telephonically to bookies in different parts of India and betting starts. Punters place bets with concerned bookies over telephone. For example, if a punter places a bet of Rs. 1 lakh on team 'B' winning the match, he will get Rs. 60,000/-, if team 'B' actually wins. On the other hand, if he places a bet on 'A' winning the match and if team 'A' actually wins the match, he will get a sum of Rs. 1,50,000/-.

However, in case he loses his bet in either instance, then he pays a sum of one lakh which he
placed as a bet, to the concerned Bookie. The whole betting procedure is a very flexible system in which 'odds' keep changing during the course of the match depending on how the match is progressing and the punter can conclude and place fresh bets according to his judgement.

Without going into the intricacies of changing 'odds' during the course of a match, it is emphasised that bookies generally manipulate the 'odds' in such a manner that they seldom incur huge losses. It is generally the punter who risks losing his money. The 'odds', which keep fluctuating as the match progresses, are transmitted to the bookies throughout India by mobile phone, pager or through the 'Dibba' system.

The 'Dibba' has a phone with speaker facility. The person operating the 'Dibba' will normally have a Mini Exchange in which there are 10 to 12 incoming and around 100 outgoings lines. An operator will constantly receive the prevailing 'odds' in the incoming lines from the bid bookies. These 'odds' are in turn constantly passed on to the other bookies/punters through the outgoing lines from the phone with speaker facility. The outgoing lines are also used by bookies/punters throughout India for the latest information about prevailing 'odds' at Mumbai.

The outgoing lines are kept energised throughout the match. Our enquiry has disclosed that primarily the owners of STD booths act as conduits in this sort of a communication network. The operations of betting syndicate in India are in the nature of a cartel. This primarily means that there are no two groups of bookies who fix 'odds' at widely differing rates. This, to a degree, ensures that there is no cut-throat competition which harms the interest of bookies. In spite of this, if there are any difference regarding any particular match, these are sorted out mutually among themselves


MAJOR BOOKIES AND PUNTERS

Some of the important bookies and punters who have emerged as key figures in the enquiry due to their connections with the cricketers in one way or the other are:

1. S.No. Bookies 1. Mukesh Kumar Gupta @ M.K. @ John,C-538, Defence Colony, Delhi
2. Anil Steel,r/o 312, Luxmichand House,1st Floor, Telung Road,Matunga, Bombay.
3. Anand Saxena,3562, Galin Than Singh, Sita Ram Bazar, Delhi and D-84, Defence Colony,New Delhi.
4. Shobhan Mehta,1503 & 1504, Deepak Jyoti Building, Kala Choki,Mumbai-33.
5. Uttam Chand,145, North Usman Raod,First Floor,T. Nagar, Chennai
6. Naveen Sachdeva @ Tinkoo41/7, 2nd Floor, Punjabi Bagh (East), Delhi,
7. Deepak Rajouri,A-120, Vishal Enclave, Delhi-27.
8. Sanjeev Sacher @ Babloo, 18/18-A, Moti Nagar, New Delhi. S.No.

Punters
1. Ajay Gupta, 41, Rajpur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi.
2. Ameesh Gupta, 34/1, East Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
3. Gyan Gupta, 34/1, East Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
4. Nishit Goyal, 8/3, Ram Kishore Road, Civil Lines, Delhi-54.
5. Sanjeev Kohli @ Tipu Kohli, D-14, South Extension, Part-II, New Delhi
6. Rattan Mehta, W-38, Panchsheel Enclave, 2nd Floor, New Delhi and A-13/8, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
7. Pawan Puri, Puri Farm House, Mehrauli, Gurgaon Raod, New Delhi.
8. Sanjay Anand, I-33, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi - 15.
9. Rajesh Kalra, S-252, Ist Floor, Greater Kailash, Part-II, New Delhi


(c) DIMENSIONS OF BETTING
: Betting on cricket is today, in terms of monetary turn-over and volume of transactions, perhaps the biggest organised racket in the country. According to rough estimates, the turn-over for a one-day match in any part of the world which is being telecast live in India is to the tune of hundreds of crores. A primary reason for the growth of this racket is the relatively liberal provisions of the Public Gambling Act. The ingredients and punishments under this Act differ from State to State.

1. Even as it is debatable whether betting on cricket attracts provisions of this Act, since cricket theoretically is a game of skill, the maximum punishment under this Act, for example in Delhi, for a first offence is imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of Rs. 1000/- and for subsequent offences, a maximum punishment of imprisonment for 1 year and a fine of Rs. 2000/-. Hence, for a bookie or a punter dealing in crores of rupees, the provisions of this Act are no major cause for worry.

2. During the enquiry, it was also learnt that the lure of easy money has gradually attracted the underworld into this racket. It seems that it is only a matter of time before major organised gangs take direct control of this racket, a phenomenon that would have implications not only for cricket but for national security as a whole.


(d) MANIPULATIONS
: Betting on cricket, having emerged as a major organised racket, it makes sound common snese for both bookies and punters to manipulate results according to their financial interests. For example, if a bookie wants to 'fix' a favourite team to lose, he would naturally rake in a huge amount of money at the cost of punters who generally place bets on the favourite team.

A punter can also 'fix' a team according to his financial interests and place heavy bets with a number of bookies which would result in major gains for him. Or enquiry has disclosed that results of cricket matches are manipulated or attempted to be manipulated by both the bookies as well as punter.

Apart from 'fixing' matches, 'performance fixing' of individual players can also help the betting syndicate in 'spread betting'.
Specific details of this aspect will be discussed later


III. REPORT ON PLAYER/BETTING SYNDICATE LINKAGES:

After collecting all relevant material/evidence, individual players, ex-players, officials, bookies, punters, and others were examined and they were confronted with the evidence at hand which the CBI had gathered. Thereafter their statements were recorded. It is, however, emphasised at the very outset that the cricketing fraternity, generally speaking, maintained a "conspiracy of silence" and were rarely forthcoming with any specific information relevant to the enquiry. 

Not a single player/ex-players/official etc., other than those who had made vague and general allegations in the media, volunteered any information to CBI. In spite of the resistance offered by the players, ignorance feigned by ex-players and officials connected with the game, the CBI was able to collect evidence through painstaking and meticulous efforts. Confronted with the evidence gathered, some players/others, in spite of their stubborn denials, broke down and disclosed their involvement in the malpractices in various degrees.

Although a number of bookies, punters, present and past cricket players, board officials and others were examined, the statements of persons who are relevant to the enquiry at this point of time alone are summarised and evidence against individual players/others is discussed in detail.


(a)  
Statements:
@ MUESH KUMAR GUPTA @ M.K. GUPTA @ M.K. @ JOHN M.K. Gupta @ MK John, a prominent bookie of Delhi, was initially employed with Syndicate Bank as a Clerk from 1982 till 1989 when the resigned. His father was a Government employee in UP and after retirement took up employment with Ghantewala Mithai Shop in Chandni Chowk area. His father is presently assisting him in running his jewellery show room by the name AMS Jewellers at H-81, South Extension, Part-I, New Delhi.

He stated that he got interested in cricket betting in the year 1984 after India had won the World Cup in 1983. one day, he was walking on the street near his residence at Mohalla Dassan and saw some people betting for smal amounts in Cricket match and this caught his attention.

He started betting with them on a small scale after banking hours. Since the people involved in this business were not well educated and did not have much knowledge of cricket, he started reading about cricket from book, magazines, newspapers, etc. he updated his knowledge by listening to BBC and gathered a lot of information. In this manner, he used to place intelligent bets and he made more money than other people involved in betting.

Since he was very prompt in his payments, the bookies also started having trust in him and his volume of betting increased. He shifted his betting activity thereafter to bigger bookies operating at Chandni Chowk, Ghanta Ghar. He was also betting at Karol Bagh and Patel Nagar with one Sikh gentleman whose name he was unable to recollect. Thereafter, he was introduced to one Anand Saxena who was a keen punter in Cricket as well as Tennis, Foot Ball, Hockey, etc. and this introduction was through a bank customer.

By the year 1986, he had made a good amount of money and he thought he should go to Bombay and start betting with the biggest bookies of that time, Mama and Kamate. Their reference was given to him by one R.P. Singh, who was a veteran in the betting field at Delhi. Accordingly, in May 1986, he went to Bombay with the address and telephone numbers of Mama and Kamate and opened his account with them and came back to Delhi. Since he had to give business on a regular basis to Mama and Kamate, he became a bookie on a partnership basis with Anand Saxena in Delhi.

In 1988, he went to watch the Ram Gharan Aggarwal Tournament being played at Delhi between different clubs. There he saw Ajay Sharma playing in a particular match in which he made a quick 50 or 100. After that match, he went to Ajay Sharma and paid him an amount of Rs. 2,000/- as a token of his appreciation and also told him that if he had any problem in life, he could contact MK and also gave his telephone number. He stated that he did this since he thought Ajay Sharma had talent and it was an investment with the hope that some day he could reap the benefits. After about 15 days, Ajay Sharma got in touch with him again and a relationship between them started. This was to prove beneficial to both.

In the year 1990, India was touring New Zealand and both Ajay Sharma and Manoj Prabhakar were in the team. MK requested Ajay Sharma over telephone from India to introduce Manoj Prabhakar to him and MK talked to Prabhakar from India over telephone. During that tour to New Zealand, he used to regularly ring up Ajay Sharma and gather information about the weather, pitch, team, composition, etc., and based on that information, he used to operate his business and made a good amount of money. He does not remember it he had paid any money to Ajay Sharma for this, but said that he may have given his some gifts.

After the New Zealand tour, India was scheduled to tour England, but Ajay Sharma was dropped from the team. MK requested Ajay Sharma to personally introduce Manoj Prabhakar to him, which Ajay Sharma duly did and Prabhakar was paid a sum of Rs. 40,000/- to help MK during the Eangland tour. MK also promised him to pay money equivalent to a Maruti Gypsy which Manoj Prabhakar wanted to purchase, if he could provide useful information during the England tour.

According to MK, Majoj Prabhakar gave him information about all aspects of the India team and he also under performed in one of the test matches which ended in a draw. After the tour, when the team came back to India, MK fulfilled his promise and paid money to Manoj Prabhakar to buy a Maruti Gypsy with wide tyres. Somewhere around that time, MK also visited Manoj Prabhakar's house in Gaziabad and had dinner with him. Manoj Prabhakar promised to introduce him to other international players against a payment of Rs. 50,000/- each, and after dinner that night, spoke to Gus Logie of West Indies over telephone.

However, Gus Logie refused to cooperate in any manner with them. MK further stated that, sometime thereafter, the Sri Lankan team visited India and Manoj Prabhakar introduced Arvinda D'Silva to him for a price.

MK established good rapport with Arvinda D'Silva. Later, MK contacted D'Silva to an introduction to Martin Crowe and D'Silva called Martin Crowe over telephone and told him about MK.

Accordingly, MK met Martin Crowe in 1991 in New Zealand and also had lunch in his house. MK added that Matin's wife Simone was also present during the meeting. MK has stated that he paid a sum of $20,000 to Martin Crowe in exchange for information about the pitch, weather, team composition, etc. whenever the New Zealand team played. MK however stated that Martin Crowe refused to fix any matches for him.

Around that period, there was a match between Wills Cup Winners of Pakistan and Wills Cup Winners of India and Feroze Shah Kotal, Delhi. He does not remember that the name of the Pakistan team, but remembers that it was captained by Javed Miandad.

MK requested Prabhakar to introduce him to Salim Malik, which he did. He thereafter met Salim Malik at Hotel Maurya Sheraton and struck a deal with him to fix that match without the knowledge of Javed Maiandad.

The Pakistani team lost the match after a close finish and he paid a sum of Rs. 8 lakhs to Salim Malik and MK also earned roughly around the same amount. He does not know who were the other players whom Salim Malik had roped in to fix this match.

By now MK realised the importance of having information about weather, pitch, etc., and chose a young boy, Sanjay Sharma, who was living in his locality, and trained him to gather information about the nature of the pitch, team composition, weather, etc. and sent him to England.

Sanjay Sharma's job was to gather all relevant information from the local newspapers, TV, etc., and pass on the same to MK. This helped him a great deal in his business [Contd...]

2.

 

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