IPL 2021: Bookies employee cleaner to share inputs to help ball-by-ball betting, confirms BCCI ACU chief

Hours after two bookies were arrested and sent to five-day police remand, BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief Shabbir Hussain Shekhadam Khandwawala on Wednesday confirmed that New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium saw potentital corruptors contacting getting in touch with an accredited cleaner for doing “pitch-siding”, an element which helps in ball-to-ball betting.               

This came to notice during an IPL clash at the venue, where a cleaner tried to use the time difference between actual match action and live TV coverage to assist in ball-by ball betting. 

“One of my ACU officers caught a person and handed over the details to Delhi Police. While that particular offender managed to flee leaving behind his two mobile phones, ACU lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police,” Hussain, a former DG of Gujarat Police, was quoted in a report by PTI on Wednesday.

“We are thankful to Delhi Police that in a separate incident they caught two other persons from the Kotla on ACU tip-off.”

The Delhi Police arrested two people with fake accreditation cards during the IPL match between Rajasthan Royals and SunRisers Hyderabad on May 2, the report mentioned.

“So on two separate days, these people managed to get access to Kotla. The one who fled came in the garb of a cleaner. However, we have all his details as he was employed for the tournament. His Aadhar Card details have been handed over to Delhi Police,” Hussain said.

“I am confident that he will be nabbed in a day or two. He is a small fry working for a couple of hundred or some thousand bucks may be,” the ACU supremo said.

The official, however, feels that low-paid staffs can actually be contacted by the corruptors for a much larger syndicate as players and other team members remain aloof inside the bio-bubble. 

“…As situations and circumstances change, so does the modus operandi of crime. But we are up for it,” Hussain said.

Describing the incident, which helped the officials unearth a major breakthrough, the ACU cheif said that his team spotted the cleaner in a secluded area, after which he was asked about his details and the reason for him remaining aloof. 

The concerned party subsequently fled from the scene. 

“He was standing (inside Feroz Shah Kotla premises) in a secluded area all by himself and so one of our officers approached and asked him ‘What are you doing here?’

“He said:”Main apne girlfriend se baat kar raha hoon. (I am talking to my girlfriend).” 

“My officer then asked him to dial the number he was talking to and then asked him to hand over the phones. Just when he was going through the contents of his phone, the guy fled from the spot,” Hussain revealed.

What was more interesting was that he was wearing the IPL accreditation card which all the class IV staff are given during the tournament from bus drivers, to cleaners, porters etc.

“It was one of the evening matches in Delhi. He was wearing an I-card. Also what raised suspicion was he had two mobiles,” he said.

“The information he may be supplying could be to someone more influential among bookmakers and so we needed to inform the Delhi Police. Delhi Police has responded positively and thus next instance two people were arrested.”

Hussain also confirmed that the ACU didn’t receive any complaint of corrupt approaches being made to players or support staff involved in IPL during the 29 games that were held.

“Obviously with bio bubble and no crowd around, it certainly becomes a bit easier to manage as there is no physical proximity of (face to face meeting with players) questionable characters. When there is crowd, it becomes difficult to check anyone and everyone,” Hussain said.

He also said that during the Mumbai leg, the hotel in which SunRisers Hyderabad team was staying had three people with questionable past record and whose names were there in ACU database. However, they couldn’t come in contact of the players.

“The moment we had information, we got in touch with Mumbai Police. The Police Commissioner of Mumbai took immediate cognisance and the Mumbai Police got hold of those three,” he added. 

– with PTI inputs 

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Sagar Biswas

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