Indian police have arrested three men suspected of placing illegal bets on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches as authorities crack down on gambling rackets that emerge around the billion-dollar franchise every year.
The trio were accused of running an online betting syndicate from a residence in New Delhi. Nearly all gambling is illegal in India but is still a huge underground industry.
“We arrested the three on Saturday while they were betting during the Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils match,” Youdhbir Singh, a senior police officer in Delhi, told AFP on Tuesday. “They were insisting that they are first-timers and it was just a one-off incident, but we know that they were doing it since the start of the league on April 7.”
Eleven mobile phones, a laptop, a television set and a digital channel receiver were seized, Singh added.
Media reports say police have busted other syndicates, in the southern city of Hyderabad and the eastern state of West Bengal, in the first two weeks of the 11th season of the lucrative IPL franchise.
The money-spinning IPL, the world’s most popular domestic cricket league, has been plagued by controversy since its inception in 2008. Corruption and match-fixing have often taken centre-stage.
A spot-fixing scandal in 2013 led to the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals being suspended in 2015 for two seasons.
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, a Rajasthan Royals bowler, was banned for life along with teammates Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila.
They were arrested along with scores of bookies as part of a probe into allegations that players had underperformed in return for cash from bookmakers.
Criminal charges were later dropped but the players were banned for breaching the code of conduct of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.