RAWALPINDI: The police have decided to approach concerned authorities to form a joint investigation team (JIT) to further probe a suspected bookie who was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday.

The resident of Shalimar View Baghbanpura Lahore was arrested when he was contacting members of his network based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the first day of the Test match between Pakistan and South Africa in Rawalpindi on Friday.

Initially, the man, identified by police as Bilal Ahmad, was handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s Anti-Corruption Circle Islamabad. After interrogating him, the FIA shifted him to the New Town police station on Saturday which led to registration of an FIR against him.

Besides two mobile phones and an entry card of National Stadium Karachi, stake money of Rs13,000 were recovered from him. The suspect has also faced interrogation in UAE and Sri Lanka on the complaint of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the International Cricket Council (ICC), said the police.

Superintendent of Police Rai Mazhar Iqbal said in a statement that the police were contacting the authorities concerned to form a joint investigation team to unearth the members of the network involved in gambling on cricket matches.

Nadeem Akhtar, assistant director FIA Anti-Corruption Circle Islamabad, lodged an FIR with the New Town police stating that the suspect was using his mobile phone in a suspicious manner when caught by a surveillance team of the PCB.

During interrogation, he revealed that he had been involved in online gambling and was giving real-time tips to his UAE-based account operator.

He also told investigators that he had travelled to UAE, Sri Lanka many times and earlier been interrogated by the ICC anti-corruption unit in Sri Lanka and Sharjah.

The complainant said the matter was probed at the appropriate level and it was decided to hand the suspect over to the local police for further legal action. This led to the registration of an FIR against him under the Punjab Prevention of Gambling Ordinance 1978 and for forgery.

The suspect had used the entry card of National Stadium Karachi for intruding into the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium which was a breach of security, said a source. The intrusion of the bookie in the strictly guarded cricket stadium on an invalid entry pass raised questions over the security arrangements at the stadium.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2021

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