Millennium Post

So, who will probe the bigger heist?

If the latest reports on the high-profile daylight robbery that shook the Capital few days back are anything to go by, the heist might just have been a staged loot to pocket cold cash worth over Rs 20 crore with links to the IPL betting scam. That the Delhi businessman who was looted has been found to be a bookie with links dating back to the Hansie Cronje match-fixing case is also a pointer towards how far and wide and deep the nexus of illegal betting and fixing is spread, with the police barely having nabbed the tip of the fraudulence berg. With the probe indicating that hard cash worth Rs 20 crore, including a substantial chunk in foreign currency, is involved, supposedly the betting payoffs to smaller cogs in the gigantic betting wheel, is a reason enough to believe that much remains to be unearthed in the notorious sixth edition of India’s favourite T20 cricket tournament that saw three cricketers get life ban from the sport. Several questions have come up in the process. Firstly, even though preliminary investigations have established Rajesh Kalra as one of the bookies chargesheeted in the Hansie Cronje match-fixing case, it is obvious that the man is still fully active in the current betting circuit, apparently having connections with bookies based abroad, particularly in London, where even the former IPL commissioner and founder Lalit Modi had found succor until he decided to contest the RCA elections. Given that Kalra’s activities include dabbling in illegal diamond trade and other cases of money laundering, he’s sure to prove as a priceless thread in the web of lies and deceits that is the sports betting circuit.

Secondly, if the claim that the vehicle used by the held bookie Vindoo Dara Singh could belong to Kalra, it is natural that there are far too many layers and connections to the IPL saga that still are lying untapped. If the heist was one staged by betting syndicates with the intention of siphoning off cash to avoid paying off expectant bookies, then clearly, there appears to be rival factions at work, who are out to pull off a googly, in cricket parlance, on the other gang. Given that cops are still facing a hard time to grapple with top honcho of IPL team Chennai Super Kings Gopinath Meiyappan, who was held for his role in the spot-fixing scam, while N Srinivasan has flexed his financial muscle to reemerge as the BBCI chief, the latest episode might just prove to be a breakthrough for the investigators to get to the bigger fishes in the betting rackets. However, we need to be vigilant if the probes, like several other, also end up getting scuttled by orders from those at the top of the polity tree. Given that the links to the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim were not allowed to surface after indications to the contrary had come from a certain cabinet minister, it remains to be seen if investigations in this case will be permitted to take place in an unbiased manner. Whether or not sports betting should be legalised is a different debate and as the controversial remark by CBI chief Ranjit Sinha has pointed out, it is too rampant to be effectively weeded out from the root. Nevertheless, a full-scale fast-track probe is due to remove the stain from India’s national pastime and most-loved annual sporting event, which has been sadly reduced to a glitz and sleaze show.
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