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The murky world of IPL: Arbaaz Khan confesses to IPL betting, bookie’s Dawood connections emerge

As news broke out today, Bollywood actor and film-maker Arbaaz Khan confessed to involvement in betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL), reported ANI. Khan, who appeared before the Thane Police for interrogation today, confessed that he lost Rs 2.75 crore in the same.

The Thane police had sent a letter to Arbaaz Khan to join the probe in pursuit of the arrest of an alleged bookie who was placing bets on the recently-concluded IPL. The IPL betting racket was busted on May 15 by the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of Thane Police’s crime branch with the arrest of four people in Mumbai, including Sonu Jalan alias Sonu Malad, who is believed to be one of the top bookies of the country.

Today during the interrogation Arbaaz Khan was brought face to face with Sonu Jalan, and Arbaaz confirmed his ‘connection’ with him. The two are said to have known each other for over five years.

Sonu Jalan allegedly had a diary with details of clients and bookies. The police say he worked for a kingpin of cricket betting who goes by the name of “Junior Kolkata”. Sonu Jalan, according to reports, was first arrested in 2008 for IPL betting. He allegedly has links with Karachi-based terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.

It has been reported that Arbaaz was being blackmailed by Sonu over a video since allegedly Arbaaz was not paying back Sonu the money he had lost amounting to Rs 2.80 crore in betting.

The cash-rich IPL has always been encompassed by gambling controversies since it began in 2008. Another film personality, Veeru Dara Singh, accompanied by Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan were arrested in 2013 by Mumbai police for spot-fixing and were later released on bail.

In the same year, in a separate case, the Delhi Police arrested 3 cricketers, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, on the charges of spot-fixing. The IPL spot-fixing also engulfed the careers of talented India pacer S Sreesanth, left-arm spinner Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila, with all three RR players banned for life by the BCCI.

On 5 June 2013, Rajasthan Royals team co-owner Raj Kundra was questioned by the Delhi Police for alleged involvement in illegal betting. On 6 June 2013, Delhi Police claimed that he had confessed to them of placing bets on his IPL team through a bookie who was his friend. On 7th June 2013, Rajasthan Royals team management said that Raj Kundra would be suspended and all his shares in the team taken back if the charges against him of betting were proved.  Because of this, he was suspended from the IPL by the BCCI on 10 June 2013.

Apart from these incidences which had sent a shock wave amongst all cricket lovers, over the years, there have been many more skeletons which have spilt out of the IPL closet.

The big man himself, Lalit Modi, who was instrumental in launching the Indian Premier League (IPL) was suspended by the BCCI on the basis of 22 charges against him. The charges being, bypassing the governing council while taking decisions, not following proper processes, bid rigging, awarding contracts to his friends, accepting kickbacks on a broadcast deal, selling franchises to members of his family, betting and money laundering. The so-called ‘masiha’ of cricket, who gave a completely new dimension to the sport ripped off the country by over 7000 crores.

It is also alleged that Sunanda Pushkar was going to reveal muddle IPL dealings before she died mysteriously. This was in connection with the IPL scam of the Kochi Tuskers, a Kerala franchise which was accused of money laundering in the name of ownership. The entire scam got exposed within few months and Shashi Tharoor had to resign from his ministerial position.

Dr Subramanian Swamy was, however, alleged the involvement of Robert Vadra too in this case, a member of the Gandhi family. He claimed that it was not just Shashi Tharoor who was involved in the Kochi franchise, but Robert Vadra was also involved in the deal.

Given the murky history of IPL and now with Sonu Jalan’s connections with Dawood also apparent, it is safe to assume that this story is far from over.

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