How a cricket bookie, as pointsman of tainted Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze, collected protection money from betting syndicates with underworld links.

Cricket betting syndicates linked with underworld gangs operating primarily in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka allegedly paid protection money to disgraced Mumbai crime branch officer Sachin Vaze, presently being interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at its Mumbai office. Vaze’s aide Naresh Gor, a well-known bookie in Mumbai, identified betting syndicates and extorted protection money during cricket season at the behest of the former crime branch officer, highly placed sources revealed.

Commenting on Vaze’s multi-crore extortion racket, reportedly patronised by key people in Maharashtra government, the BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said that besides extorting large amount of money from dance bars and clubs, Vaze’s men were minting money by sheltering betting cartels.” Gor was Vaze’s pointsman who targeted illegal betting rings operating in the state, and collected huge amounts from them. The extortion racket requires a thorough probe to unmask the real faces behind this hafta vasooli,” said Ram Kadam, three-time MLA from Mumbai.

Thirty-one-year-old Gor, who hails from Kutch, was associated with top cricket betting syndicates spread across India’s west coast from Gujarat to Karnataka. According to ATS Mumbai, Gor procured dozens of SIM cards on fake IDs from a trader in Ahmedabad. The trader identified as Kishore Thakkar has now been detained by the NIA, which is probing the Mansukh Hiren case. Gor was arrested in murder case of Mansukh, the owner of the explosive-laden SUV, parked near billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s famous house Antilia located in posh south Mumbai area of Mumbai.

Sources said as the cricket betting racket operates in India through mobile phones and other similar gadgets, Gor was specialised in procuring SIM cards, phone sets, wifi routers and dongles in bulk on fake IDs. “On Vaze’s instructions, Naresh procured 93 SIM cards, 14 mobile phones between March 3 to March 5, to execute the plan for killing Mansukh Hiren,” said an officer of ATS, Mumbai adding, “In fact Vinayak Shinde, a tainted cop also involved in the murder had earlier introduced Gor to Vaze.”

Sources said through Vinayak Shinde, Gor made connections in the underworld and started targeting top bookies to extort protection money on behalf of Vaze. Most of the online betting syndicates operate from Middle East countries and are further linked to the Dawood Ibrahim gang.

Meanwhile, NIA recovered a secret diary from Shinde’s residence. While Gor collected funds from betting syndicates, Shinde was reportedly extorting money from dance bars and restaurants. Sources said that recovered diary reveals Shinde, currently out on parole in another murder, collecting protection money from more than 30 bars and clubs in Mumbai.

“Now it’s important to identify those in whose accounts or hands this black money was being transferred to. Obviously, the beneficiaries seem to be the powerful people who patronised Vaze’s extortion racket, we hope NIA unmasks such people involved in one of the biggest loot in India’s commercial capital,” BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said.

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