NEW DELHI: After years of silence over a betting scandal in cricket, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two First Information Reports (FIRs) to probe the alleged betting and match-fixing in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) held in 2019, with clear links over a phone number traced to Pakistan.
In the first case, the CBI has named, Dileep Kumar, Gautam Satish, Gurram Vasu, unknown public servants and unknown private persons while in the second case the federal agency has named Sajaan Singh, Prabhu Lal Meena, Ram Avtar, Amit Kumar Sharma and unknown public servants and unknown private persons.
It further said that Kumar, Satish and unknown others were in touch with one Pakistani suspect namely ‘Waqas Malik’ who contacted Kumar, Satish, Vasu and unknown others through a Pakistani mobile number +9232278900000.
“During the course of the investigation, we found the involvement of people based in Pakistan. We have identified the money trail and hawala transactions to certain shady characters living in Pakistan,” said a top CBI official.
Allegations of spot and match-fixing are not new to IPL. Delhi Police had unearthed a major betting and fixing scandal in 2013 in the IPL and arrested players S Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila.
The CBI registered the case on May 13 this year.
As per the CBI FIR, it has been alleged that reliable information was received about a network of individuals involved in cricket betting and influencing the outcome of IPL matches based on inputs received from Pakistan.
It is alleged that in the garb of the betting related to IPL matches, they are cheating the general public by inducing them into betting.
The FIR also stated that for the same purpose, they had opened bank accounts by furnishing using forged identities and know your customer (KYC) documents in connivance with unknown bank officials.
The FIR further stated that these bank accounts were opened by submitting forged details such as multiple dates of birth and without due diligence done by the bank officials.
“A part of the money received from the general public in India on account of such betting activities is also being shared with their associates based in foreign countries using hawala transactions,” it said, adding that as per the information, the said network of individuals is involved in cricket betting since the year 2013.
The CBI said that in the first case, it has been alleged that “unscrupulous financial activities” by Kumar in association with Satish, Vasu and unknown others were revealed.
It said that the information revealed that the accused persons are part of a widespread network involved in illegal betting activities.
The CBI FIR further stated that as per the information Kumar, Satish, Vasu and unknown others are using different IDs in KYC norms of the bank accounts in connivance with unknown bank officials operated by them.
The CBI FIR stated that Kumar used four bank accounts (mule accounts) in SBI, one each in ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda and Syndicate Bank and two each in Bank of India and Citi Bank and certain bank account does not exhibit the behaviour of a normal saving account.
It said that the transactions are not in line with the customer’s profile details that were submitted as part of the KYC norms.
The CBI said, “The domestic cash deposits in Bank accounts which defy economic rationale are valued more than Rs 43 lakh from the year 2013 onwards in the case of Kumar. The information reveals that this network of individuals was involved in cricket betting during the IPL matches held in 2019. The persons involved are running the racket of cricket betting, committing fraud by inducing betting by the general public and thereby deceiving the public of their hard-earned money and also indulging in impersonating their identities in operating various bank accounts.”
The CBI said that the source information further revealed that there is no recognizable business rationale to explain transactions in the accounts of Satish and it also does not exhibit behaviours of an account being used for normal business purposes.
Satish received foreign deposits worth Rs 3.05 lakh during the year 2012-13 and 2019-20. The CBI also said that Satish’s bank account also defy economic rationale as there were cash deposits of more than Rs 4.55 crore in his several bank accounts maintained with SBI, ICICI and Bank, the agency stated.
The CBI said that the transactions in the bank accounts of Vasu are involved in the routing of money for various illegal purposes.
“The transactions of domestic deposits in his bank account defy economic rationale as it is valued more than Rs 5.37 crore during the financial year 2012-13 to 2019-20,” the CBI alleged, adding that the KYC documents of suspects bank accounts have not been properly scrutinised by bank officials
The CBI further stated that maximum cash deposited in these bank accounts are of pan India nature which further substantiates the allegation of these unusual financial transactions being linked with cricket betting and other criminal activities.
In 2013, the Delhi Police Special Cell had busted an international betting racket in cash-rich IPL. The Delhi Police at that time had arrested several bookies and cricket players for their alleged involvement in the illegal match-fixing.