The roar you hear after every boundary hit or wicket taken in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) is virtual, compensating for the crowd that has not been allowed into the stadiums as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are many who literally shout, cheer and get the adrenaline rush on every ball of the ongoing T20 cricket matches. They have money at stake and are running a dark network of betting on IPL matches with their setup of laptops, mobiles and registers to maintain records.
The Indian police in states like Hyderabad, Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata, Goa, Delhi and the NCR has actively launched a crackdown on betting syndicates, arresting several men who were caught red-handed from small flats to resorts in India.
The Goa police busted at least two gambling networks in Goa betting on the outcome of IPL matches. On October 2, the Goa Police Crime Branch raided a hotel and arrested three persons from Hyderabad who were found accepting bets on IPL matches from people across India.
The arrests came a day after the police apprehended five persons from a villa at Candolim, a coastal village in north Goa. All those arrested were from Rajasthan except one who was from Nepal. None of those arrested belonged to Goa.
In Hyderabad, at least 13 persons were arrested from different parts of the city and more than Rs 22 lakh in cash was seized. Seven members of a gang organising betting for the ongoing IPL matches were apprehended by the Cyberabad Special Operations Team of Balanagar zone on Sunday night.
In another incident a gaming house in Red Hills was raided and the police apprehended three persons while three more were held by Hyderabad city police for betting on IPL matches.
In Uttar Pradesh, at least eight men, including five in Meerut and three in Varanasi, have been arrested for their alleged involvement in betting in the ongoing IPL matches.
The Kolkata police acting on a tip-off, conducted raids in Hare Street, Park Street, Jadavpur and Salt Lake areas on Thursday night and arrested nine persons, mostly in their mid-20s, for allegedly betting on the previous day's IPL cricket match.
In the NCR, Gurugram police have arrested two persons on charges of betting on an IPL match between RCB and Delhi Capitals. The duo was arrested from an EWS flat in Vatika City in Sector-50.
"Based on specific inputs, the police raided the spot and nabbed the duo when they were placing bets on an IPL match played between RCB and Delhi Capitals," said Subhash Boken, Spokesperson of the Gurugram police.
The police registered a case under the Prevention of Gambling Act.
In a big crackdown in Delhi, six persons were arrested from south Delhi, four from south-east and two from west Delhi's Punjabi Bagh a few days ago.
"In Rajpur Khurd village, six persons were found sitting on a lawn with a laptop in which entries on bets were maintained. In one mobile phone, a live cricket match was being telecast and on another landline phone the rates of bets were being announced," said Atul Thakur, DCP, south Delhi.
Betting on IPL matches is not new and the police has to deploy both technical surveillance and manual intelligence to unearth these betting rackets that are mushrooming all over the country.