By Elton Gomes
Since the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) inception, the T20 cricket tournament has been plagued by allegations of spot-fixing and betting. Recently, Salman Khan’s brother Arbaaz Khan confessed to betting in the IPL and losing Rs 2.75 crore in the process.
On June 4, Arbaaz Khan was summoned by the Thane Police to record his statement before the anti-extortion cell (AEC). Khan sat alongside Sonu Jalan, the bookie who was arrested earlier in the case.
The AEC busted the betting racket in May by arresting four people, including Jalan, in Mumbai. Officials have said that Jalan is one of the top bookies of the country. During the investigation, the police identified a link between Jalan and Arbaaz Khan and stated that the two have known each other for more than five years.
Jalan names Bollywood producers
After Arbaaz Khan admitted to betting, the names of two Bollywood producers also cropped up in the scandal. Pradeep Sharma, senior inspector of the Thane AEC, told Indiatimes, “Two Bollywood producers, Parag Sanghvi and Murad Khaitan’s names have cropped up. We will call them for questioning. Shaghvi 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.”
Incarcerated bookie Jalan also named filmmaker Sajid Khan in the betting scandal. Jalan said that Sajid Khan placed bets on IPL cricket matches roughly seven years prior. The Thane Police were probing Jalan’s statements but decided against summoning Sajid Khan.
It is alleged that Jalan ran the betting racket from Dombivli, in Thane district. According to a TimesNow report, the Thane AEC managed to recover snapshots of betting rates from Jalan’s mobile. Jalan claimed that the photos were from the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils, and he added that several clients placed bets on the match.
As per the TimesNow report, the involvement of a former cop and his brother is also being alleged in the betting scandal. Former cop Sohail Buddha reportedly transferred Rs 2 crore in Jalan’s account.
Reacting over the scandal, IPL chief Rajeev Shukla spoke to news agency ANI,“The matter is with the police, we have nothing to do with it. Both Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and International Cricket Council (ICC) have anti-corruption units, police can coordinate with them.”
A dark past
The Delhi Police, in 2013, arrested three cricketers – S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – on the charges of spot-fixing. Along with the three cricketers, the police arrested 11 bookies, one of whom was believe to be Sreesanth’s cousin. After the arrests, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suspended all three players.
Days later, in a separate case, Mumbai Police arrested Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh and an apex member of the Chennai Super Kings Gurunath Meiyappan for alleged links with bookies.
In 2015, two IPL teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, were found guilty of illegal betting. As a result both teams were suspended for two years, while their owners were banned from all cricketing activities for life.
Three men suspected of illegal betting were arrested at a New Delhi hotel in 2017. The trio was arrested from the same hotel where the Delhi Daredevils and the Gujarat Lions teams were staying.
The naming of Arbaaz Khan and other affluent Bollywood personalities in the recent betting scandal seems to be the tip of the iceberg. It is extremely difficult to ascertain how many people were involved, and whether they will be exposed.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius