The Chawla connect: 2 Dubai numbers link to underworld betting syndicate
New Delhi, Feb 14
Two Dubai mobile phone number hold the key to underworld connections in the cricket match fixing case, as the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch begins questioning bookie Sanjeev Chawla, extradited from London on Thursday.
The numbers 00971506796XXX and 00971506799XXX, as per the investigation so far in the case, are linked with underworld criminals operating from the United Arab Emirates(UAE).
The confidential report of the Crime Branch on Sanjeev Chawla’s links with the underworld, reviewed by IANS reveals that one of the numbers 00971506796XXX was being used by one Shaheen Haithely, an alleged associate of mafia don Chhota Shakeel.
“We had input on Shaheen who was involved in a case of extortion. Shaheen was also connected with Chawla on an Indian mobile phone number 9810008XXX.
“However neither Shaheen nor Chawla could be traced for years….now he(Sanjeev Chawla) is in custody of Crime Branch, I hope the underworld connections would become clear,” said Ishwar Singh, the then Inspector of Anti-Extortion Cell of the Delhi Police, who unearthed the match fixing racket.
During investigation Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, discovered that one of the UAE mobile phone numbers 00971506799XXX was registered against the name of one Iftikhar Ahmed, PO Box 32XX, Sharjah.
The identity of Ifthikar could not be established by the Crime Branch as further inputs on the betting syndicate involved in match fixing case in 2000, were insufficient.
One of the reasons why police could not unravel links of the underworld was Sanjeev Chawla’s mysterious escape to London.
Sources said that the real identity and links of Shaheen or Iftikhar could now be ascertained as questioning of Sanjeev Chawla began.
Chawla was allegedly working for a betting syndicate operating from Dubai.
“I suspect D-Company links in the match fixing case. Without the backing of Dawood’s betting syndicate, match fixing at such a big scale is not possible,” said Neeraj Kumar, former Delhi Police Commissioner, who booked Dawood Ibrahim gang in the spot fixing case of IPL in 2013.
The dossier prepared on Sanjeev Chawla hints that the international bookie was operating on behalf of an Indian Music company baron who was in touch with Shaheen.
The police dossier reveals that during the match fixing case, involving the late South Africa skipper Hanse Cronje, the betting syndicate run by D-company was led Sharad Shetty.
Considered a powerful member of D-Company, Sharad Shetty was controlling reins of all top betting syndicates operating in India, Pakistan, Britain and the UAE in early 2000.
However, three years after the match-fixing scam was unearthed in Delhi, D-Company operator Sharad Shetty was killed in Dubai in 2003, allegedly by rival Chhota Rajan’s aides.
Shetty’s murder eclipsed vital leads which could have ostensibly thrown light on the shady operations of betting rings in cricket, spread across several countries.
“In my initial complaint I mentioned that a few businessmen of India in connivance with underworld criminals based in Dubai hatched a conspiracy to fix matches (during South Africa-India series). However even after so many years the underworld angle could not investigated,” said Ishwar Singh, who traced the Dubai mobile numbers linked with the match fixing case.
The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of Board of Control for Cricket in India(BBCI) has intended to join the investigation of Crime Branch, presently focused on interrogating Sanjeev Chawla.
The ACU chief of BCCI has reportedly said that if the Crime Branch permits ACU, the Unit’s official would like to talk to Chawla, to keep an update on the betting racket involving cricketers.