Interrogation of alleged bookie Sonu Malad alias Sonu Jalan has revealed that he purportedly took help of gangster Ravi Pujari in recovering money from those who placed bets through him during IPL matches but defaulted on payment after incurring losses, police said today.
Thane Police, who are investigating the case, have decided to apply stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Jalan, Pujari and other top bookies, he said.
Application of MCOCA makes it difficult for an accused to secure bail, besides the police get six months to file the charge sheet. Not just that, statements given to the police and confessions and admissions made before the police are acceptable as evidence in a court of law. Hence, if MCOCA is applied against even 2-3 accused, Arbaaz Khan’s confessional statement admitting that he indulged in betting over the last 6 years and even lost Rs 2.8 crore and was in touch with a bookie who was in turn in touch with organised crime members like Ravi Pujari and Dawood Ibrahim, makes him liable for arrest. Under the IPC a self-incriminating statement made before the police during investigation is not admissible as evidence, but under MCOCA, it is, which means Arbaaz Khan’s confession that he was associated with Sonu Jalan aka Sonu Malad – the main accused in the case, makes him liable for arrest.
Top police sources in the Thane Anti Extortion Cell have confirmed to IndiaScoops.com Special Crime Correspondent that Salman Khan’s brother and ex husband of Malaika Arora, actor Arbaaz Khan will be arrested sooner or later in the Rs 1000 crore IPL betting scam.
“We have to arrest him. It is an international crime syndicate controlled by wanted terrorist and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his henchmen from Dubai and Pakistan. Arbaaz Khan is not new to the industry. He is not a kid. As a producer and as the brother of Salman Khan, he has traveled all over the world and knows very well how these things work and operate. He is fully aware that the betting racket on such a large scale is controlled by the underworld. He was not betting for a few thousand. His deals ran into crores. So Arbaaz Khan is part of the underworld, organised crime syndicate and we will have to arrest him. We are only waiting to record everyone’s statements. After that there may be 2-3 sensational arrests,” our police source told IndiaScoops.com.
Besides Arbaaz Khan, producer Parag Sanghvi, producer Murad Khaitan and builder Dilip Ludhani could be arrested by the Thane AEC in the IPL betting scam. Jalan also told the interrogators that Bollywood producer Parag Sanghvi, who is the CEO of a film production-distribution company Alumbra Entertainment and Lotus Film Company, based in Mumbai, was his “partner” in the betting racket, the official said.
Jalan had been arrested several times in the past by the Mumbai Police in connection with cricket betting.
Meanwhile, Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the police today sent a notice to Bollywood producer Parag Sanghavi asking him to appear before them tomorrow for questioning, the officer said.
Sanghvi’s name had cropped up during interrogation of Jalan who had disclosed that Sanghvi was his “partner” in betting, he said.
Police also summoned one Sameer Buddha, brother of a former police officer, as part of their investigation into the case, he said.
According to the officer, Jalan was picked up by the Thane crime branch from the car of Sameer Buddha on May 29.
Police had last week questioned Bollywood actor and filmmaker Arbaaz Khan during their investigation.
According to the officer, Buddha had lost around Rs. 2.5 crore in bets he had placed through Jalan.
Police had claimed that Arbaaz, brother of actor Salman Khan, has told them that he had been betting on cricket matches for the past five to six years.
“It came to light during Jalan’s interrogation that he was allegedly taking help of gangster Ravi Pujari to recover money from those who placed bets during IPL matches but lost,” the officer said.
He said Jalan has revealed his connections with suspected bookies Rakesh Rajkot, Junior Kolkata, Munir Khan, Mannan Amritsar, Kiran Malla, and Ketan Tanna.
“They all are wanted by us and we have been looking for them,” the officer said.
Thane Police have booked Jalan in three cases including a case of extortion lodged by a chili trader, he said.
The officer said the trader had allegedly lost Rs. 3 crore in bets he had placed through Jalan.
“After the trader defaulted on payment, Jalan met with him and during that meeting he allegedly called up Pujari who threatened the trader with dire consequences,” he said.
On the complaint of the trader, a case of extortion was registered with Thane Nagar police station against Jalan, Pujari and other bookies, he said.
According to police, Jalan allegedly had several international connections and is considered a big shot bookie in Mumbai.
Jalan allegedly had associates in Delhi, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, besides in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and Saudi Arabia, police had said.
The AEC had last month arrested four suspected bookies for allegedly operating a betting racket during the recently-concluded IPL season from a shop in Dombivli in Thane district.