Sonu Jalan, an alleged bookie and the kingpin of the IPL betting racket, in his police statement, has mentioned several prominent names who bet huge amounts on certain IPL teams and players, an officer from the anti-extortion cell of the Thane crime branch told TOI on Friday.
A top police source told IndiaScoops.com, that at least six big Bollywood stars, four Bollywood film producers, 10-12 film financers and several restaurant, hotel and pub owners stand exposed as Arbaaz Khan confessed to betting today before the police and admitted that he placed the bets through Sonu Jalan, alias Sonu Batla aka Sonu Malad. 26 Mumbai-based fashion models who were also connected with the betting racket are under the scanner of the police, reports our Special Crime Correspondent.
Along with these names, the name of the owner of one of India’s largest hoarding companies as well as a prominent God woman known for her flamboyant lifestyle have also surfaced in the betting racket.
Sarkar movie producer Parag Sanghvi, CEO of Alumbra Entertainment & Lotus Film Company and former MD of media company K Sera Sera, has also has been called in for questioning.
He said Jalan’s statement corroborated with handwritten notes in his personal diary, which is now in the possession of the the police. Also, the name of a Pakistani politician has come to the fore, an angle the police are probing.
“Actor Arbaaz Khan placed bets during one of the past IPL seasons through Jalan, reports TOI. Earlier, Jalan was working with a big bookie who went by the name of Junior Calcutta. Subsequently, there was a huge transaction between Jalan and Khan. Apparently, Khan was blackmailed into paying crores, the threat being that his gambling habit would be exposed before his family and the media. But all this will be probed once Khan gives his side of the story,” a senior officer associated with the probe said.
While a police source said Khan may have paid over Rs 3 crore to Jalan, PI Pradeep Sharma, who is leading the probe into the IPL betting racket, told TOI, “Nothing concrete can be said on this as of now. We need to corroborate it with evidence and statements of those who are linked with the racket.”
“During investigation, it was found that Arbaaz was being threatened by Jalan,” Pradeep Sharma , senior police inspector with the anti-extortion cell said, reported Hindustan Times.
Despite repeated attempts by TOI to get his version, Khan didn’t return calls or respond to text messages. “Our initial estimate of the turnover of the betting scam run by Jalan is Rs 1,000 crore. His network could involve nearly 3,500 punters and smaller bookies,” Sharma told TOI.
The police said Jalan travelled to Sri Lanka during an international cricket tournament in 2016 and a probe is on to find out if there was any betting-linked match-fixing at the time.
The anti-extortion cell of the Thane crime branch busted the latest IPL betting racket on May 16 by raiding a Dombivli flat and arresting three bookies: Gautam Savla, Nikhil Sampat and Nitin Punjani. Two more arrests (of bookie Khushal Malad and software supplier Vrajesh Joshi) were made till May 28.
On Tuesday, Jalan unwittingly handed himself over to the police when he came to the Kalyan court to meet Savla, Sampat and Punjani, who were to be produced there that day.
During their interrogation, the bookies had revealed that Jalan was the key player in the racket, which was conducted online, said Sharma.
Meanwhile, Thane Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh said that interrogation in the matter is underway, while adding that the Deputy Commissioner of Police will brief about it once the interrogation concludes.
Abhishek Trimukhe, DCP (Crime) confirmed the developments in the case and said, “Six accused have been arrested in the IPL betting racket. Arbaaz Khan’s name came up in the case during the interrogation of Sonu Jalan. Arbaaz’s statement has been recorded. Some new names have cropped up, action will be taken against them as well.”
Speaking about the matter, IPL Commissioner, Rajeev Shukla told news agency ANI, “The matter is with the police, we have nothing to do with it. Both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) have anti-corruption units, police can coordinate with them.”