Even as Bollywood actor and filmmaker Arbaaz Khan was being grilled by the Anti Extortion Cell of the Thane Crime Branch about his alleged role in the IPL betting case, the police are believed to have discovered the name of a leading superstar and at least 12 others from Bollywood in the red diary of arrested bookie Sonu Jalan aka Sonu Malad who is also associated with the Dawood Ibrahim gang and other international betting rackets.
Besides Arbaaz Khan, three other Bollywood superstars’ names have cropped up during the investigation. The police are trying to find a “definite link or connect” along with “evidence” in the form of call recordings or WhatsApp messages between the bookies and the Bollywood superstars before summoning them for questioning.
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.
Pradeep Sharma, senior inspector, Thane AEC said on Saturday, “Two Bollywood producers, Parag Sanghvi and Murad Khaitan’s names have cropped up. We will call them for questioning. Sanghvi was Jalan’s partner. A top bookie who is a Mumbai-based builder’s son, Dilip Ludhani, has also been named. We are probing further. We will call Khan again if needed.”
The IPL betting racket was busted last month by the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane Police’s Crime Branch. Jalan, who is reportedly one of the top bookies of the country, is believed to have close connections with Arbaaz Khan, said Pradeep Sharma of the AEC. Arbaaz had been asked to join the probe into the betting rackets of Jalan who was arrested for placing bets during IPL 2018.
The AEC team is confident that Arbaaz is not the only Bollywood celeb in the racket. The superstar whose name has been discovered in Jalan’s red diary has a big film in the making. Another big actor whose private life has gained him much notoriety is also named in the diary, according to reports in PeepingMoon.com. However, most of these betting transactions date back to IPL 2016 when Jalan was most active.
Of particular interest to the police are two matches of 2016 in which Jalan and his international network of bookies and punters were said to be heavily involved. According to the police, Jalan was not operating alone for these two matches. The entire D Company was involved. It is not known if Arbaaz, who was introduced to the bookie by a businessman named Hanif Khan, was also embroiled.
The next big fish likely to fall in the Thane Crime Branch’s net will be the big Bollywood superstar who is said to close to fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim claims PeepingMoon.com. Jalan’s betting operation was not restricted to the IPL alone. The bookie was also involved with the Pakistan Super League, the Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League and Bangladesh Premier League, reports PeepingMoon.com.
Sr PI Pradeep Sharma, is heading the investigation and will call three big Bollywood producers and some financers also for questioning. Arbaaz Khan is just the tip of the iceberg. The police suspect he was heavily into betting and want to scrutinize his bank accounts. Arbaaz reportedly lost Rs. 2.80 crore to Rs 3 crore in bets. Since he did not pay up, the bookie started threatening and blackmailing him. The police claim to have photographic and electronic evidence implicating Arbaaz Khan in the case.
The 50-year-old actor told the police that he had been invited by Jalan to Delhi. Khan added the pictures of him with Jalan were clicked during his meeting with him.
The actor revealed that he was being blackmailed by Jalan using the recordings of his calls to him. Khan said that Jalan also used the recordings of phone calls and photos to force him to attend events for him, reports India Today.
The police said that the actor placed bets over the phone. Khan, however, denied that he took money from the bets that he placed through Jalan. Incidentally, Khan and Jalan got into a spat last year after the latter asked him to pay Rs 2.75 crore for bets he had lost on cricket matches.
According to the statement, Khan told Jalan that he had never shown any balance sheets or accounts regarding the bets. Khan’s enquiry about the Rs 2.75 crore led to an argument between the two parties. The actor, however, admitted that he had won another bet last year and it was because of this win their dispute was settled says the India Today report.
In the recent past, Jalan had similarly blackmailed an Enforcement Directorate officer who was posted in Gujarat. The officer, who is facing corruption charges, is currently being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Jalan, who was adept with technology, would record videos of officers and some celebrities. He even laid honey traps during his meetings with these officers and celebrities and used female models to trap his clients. He has a network of female models who work for him, either as tippers or ‘marketing agents’ to rope in clients. Many of these models also moonlight as high class escorts and call girls and trap clients into placing bets through Jalan. At least 3 South actresses who reside in Mumbai are part of the racket.
Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s aides Raees Farooqui and Anil Tunda had met Jalan in the past. Both Farooqui and Tunda are known for operating Dawood’s betting syndicate.
Jalan has been active in the betting circuit for the past 16 years. According to the police, a former police officer guided Jalan. In 2011, Jalan had honeytrapped another senior police officer.
The police will examine Jalan’s bank accounts and email accounts. According to the police, Jalan ran an auto parts business to conceal his dealings. The police have extended remand of Jalan till June 6.
While the website Bet and Take is shut, the police is examining its server to find out the number of those who accessed it online and through its mobile application or app.
Over the years, Jalan has bought properties worth crores in Mumbai. Recently, he purchased three flats amounting to Rs 10 crore. He presently, lives in a 3500 sq flat in western suburbs of Malad.