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Unholy nexus of dons and bookies

Mar 21, 2007 11:45 PM IST India India

New Delhi, Mumbai: Pakistan losing to Ireland and subsequently being kicked out of the World Cup was a shock perhaps too hard for Bob Woolmer to overcome.

With the Jamaican Police confirming that Woolmer died under highly mysterious circumstances, the reasons for his death have become even more murky.

There is speculation in the Pakistani media and generally in the subcontinent that Woolmer might have possessed some revealing facts about match fixing and betting surrounding Pakistani cricket.

If that was the case, could the Pakistani defeat have angered the bookies and the underworld? And could Woolmer's death be linked to this in any way?

The bookie-underworld nexus is a known fact and this is something the police has had to keep an eye on on a routine basis.

Bookies find it hard to work without the blessings of the underworld dons who are key players in the betting game.

Says Mumbai Crime Branch's DCP, Detection, Dhananjay Kamlakar, "Almost all the big bookies are supposed to have links with the underworld."

The underworld-bookie connection

  • Mukesh Kocchar - who is allegedly a bookie - allegedly spoke to West Indies' Marlon Samuels during West Indies' tour of India earlier this year. He is allegedly a known Dawood man who also handles the don's betting accounts.
  • Kothari Mumbai is another known bookie who facilitates Hawala transactions at the behest of Dawood.
  • Vinod Chembur is a notorious bookmaker who is presently in jail under the MCOC Act.
  • Then there is Shobhan Mehta, a bookie who is known to have fixed many international matches and was even arrested, but later let off due to lack of evidence.

Says Additional CP, Deependra Pathak, "Any kind of connection, profane, criminal cannot be ruled out. Certainly anti-social elements are involved."

While the police may not officially confirm it, it's evident that bookies who take and place bets on behalf of the underworld and openly enjoy underworld patronage, or else, how would you explain transactions worth crores of rupees through Hawala across the border.

Speculation is rife that in this World Cup too that bookies will go to any extent to make their money.