News 18th June 2015

Seven charged with illegal cricket betting in India

India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED), a specialised financial investigation agency under the ambit of the Department of Revenue within India’s Ministry of Finance, have confirmed to the Sports Integrity Initiative that on Monday they filed a chargesheet against seven alleged bookmakers accused of being involved in accepting bets for various national and international cricket matches. The chargesheet, a formal document of accusation issued by the ED detailing the charges against the individuals accused, was issued against the men accusing them of money laundering in relation to these bets.

A spokesman from the ED in Ahmedabad, one of the ED’s zonal offices, confirmed that the chargesheet had been filed at Ahmedabad’s principal district court, which hears cases in relation to India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA). The ED’s Twitter account also stated on Tuesday that the Ahmedabad office had filed its first ‘Prosecution Complaint’ against seven persons in a ‘multi-crore Cricket Betting case’. The chargesheet, which is not available online, details evidence relating to money laundering offences in which the accused illegally accepted bets from the UK and other globally-based betting sites. The Press Trust of India, named the accused as: Kiran ‘Mala’ Thakkar, Girish ‘Tommy’ Patel, Dharmendra Chauhan, Chirag Parikh, Ankush Bansal, his brother Ritesh Bansal, and Mukesh Sharma. Among the named suspects are those that have already been detained by the ED earlier in the year. The Times of India reported that the properties of those accused had been searched within the last four months, which brought up the new evidence detailed in the chargesheet.

According the Press Trust of India the chargesheet accuses the suspects involved in the betting syndicate of making transactions worth more than Rs 2,500 crore (€345 million) through an informal value transfer system (‘hawala’ channels) in Dubai and Pakistan. Those accused are suspected of accepting bets through mobile phones and websites, including the the UK-based betting website Betfair.com. The cricket matches on which the bets were allegedly placed include both Indian Premier League (IPL) matches and World Cup matches.

The announcement of the new charges comes less than a month after the ED conducted a series of raids in Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur under an investigation into match-fixing during this year’s IPL tournament.

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