LUCKNOW Security agencies as well as UP police agencies have gone on high alert ahead of the Sunday Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup being played in the United Arab Emirates. The Uttar Pradesh police agencies are keeping a close vigil on suspicious people in view of several match-fixing and betting cases having been unearthed from different districts of the state in the past.
“The UP police Special Task Force (STF), the state’s elite investigation agency, has been asked to keep close eye on betting and match-fixing hot spots in view of the Sunday clash between cricket teams of India and Pakistan,” said a senior police official. He said several suspicious people, whose names had surfaced in such activities in the past, and their close associates were under police scanner and their mobile numbers under electronic surveillance. He said the state police had also sought help from central and other states’ agencies to keep a tab on such activities.
An STF official said the STF sleuths were in touch with Mumbai and Delhi police sleuths who had been working on match-fixing and betting cases for the past many years. “The crime branch teams of Mumbai and Delhi police have also been kept in the loop to provide all possible leads about bookies and betting rackets,” he said, adding, “The list of suspicious people includes some big businessmen and sports management companies of Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Noida and Ghaziabad.”
In May 2013, a major betting racket, which allegedly had links with a few international cricketers, was unearthed after arrest of several people in Varanasi and Kanpur. The arrested racketeers were alleged to have had direct links with betting masterminds allegedly operating from Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana.
Despite strict measures and vigil, in 2017 three suspected bookies were arrested from a Kanpur hotel which hosted players of Gujarat Lions and Daredevils, who had come to the city for an Indian Premier League match.
On September 29 last year, during Indian Premier League matches, the UP police unearthed a cricket betting racket operational from a rented house under Vibhuti Khand police station limits and seized around ₹42.66 lakh from three people arrested in this connection.
Similarly, on April 10, 2019, the UP STF busted an interstate cricket betting racket after arrest of its kingpin Jeetendra alias Jeetu and four others from Kanpur and three people from Varanasi. The kingpin allegedly had international links in Dubai and his network was wide spread in different cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer and Raipur.
A businessman, who enjoy betting on different mobile applications available nowadays, said the betting would be on a high during the match and over ₹ 250 crore would be on stake only in the UP’s two cities, Lucknow and Kanpur.
He said the betters would get only ₹ 750 on putting ₹ 1000 on the Indian team as they were favourites with two Pakistan bowlers getting injured before the match, while the betters would get ₹ 3000 on putting ₹ 1000 on Pakistan winning the match. He said the betting rates changed according to the situation of the match. He said some betters played sessions which meant that they put money on a particular team for making a certain score in a certain number of overs.