ISLAMABAD, July 12: The capital police on Thursday arrested a bookie with alleged links in all the cricket playing countries along with his three accomplices which also led to the unearthing of a gambling den.
The arrest was made during a raid conducted under the supervision of subdivisional police officer (SDPO) Yasir Afridi, who had been tipped about the gambling den at Sector I-10/4.
The police arrested the operator of the gambling den along with his accomplices who maintained the record of betting and callers’ details.
Thirty landline phone sets, five mobiles, computers, two TV sets, tape recorders, registers, satellite systems and other equipment used in betting were also seized.
During interrogation of the accused, it was revealed that the gambling den operator - FS - had divided Pakistan into three zones and supervised betting on games, especially cricket and football, in the northern region of the country, including Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujar Khan, Peshawar and Gilgit-Baltistan with the help of his men.
A Sabzi Mandi police official close to the investigation said the gambling den was engaged in betting on the ongoing cricket series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Australia and England and West Indies and New Zealand.
They also betted on football matches played in the Euro Cup, he said.
Betting of about Rs50 million was involved in the series played between Pakistan and other countries or between cricket giants and weak teams. About Rs10 million to Rs25 million were put at stake for a series between two strong teams.
Similarly, an amount of Rs50 million and above was betted on international tournament of T20 and 50/50 matches.
The accused was involved in betting for the last eight years and had recently moved to I-10/4 from Committee Chowk in Rawalpindi. He used to change his gambling den after every month or a fortnight to avoid arrest.
The accused told the investigators that bookies in Punjab and Sindh were operating from Lahore and Karachi. The three dens were also linked with major gambling dens in other countries, including India, Sri Lanka and UAE.
In response to a question, the official said the accused were also being interrogated whether they had links with other Pakistani and international players.
Spot fixing rocked the Pakistan cricket team during its last tour to England in 2010 when a journalist exposed the involvement of cricketers Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Captain Salman Butt in it. Later, they were sentenced to jail terms after allegations against them proved.
In April 2000, the Delhi police exposed the then South African captain Hansie Cronje’s conversation with Sanjay Chawla, a representative of an Indian betting syndicate, over match-fixing allegations. Three other players were also implicated in the allegation.
Cronje denied the allegation earlier but he was sacked as captain after confessing to Ali Bacher that he had not been “entirely honest.” He admitted accepting between $10,000 and $15,000 from a London-based bookmaker for ‘forecasting’ results, not match fixing, during the 2000 One Day series in India.
In June 2000, Cronje released a statement that revealed all his contact with bookmakers.
For the Pakistani cricket team, the allegation of match-fixing seems to have started when Asif Iqbal was the captain of the Pakistani team in 1979-80. Iqbal was accused of betting on the toss.
An Indian cricketer, G. Vishwanath, in his book has written that when he went for the toss with the Pakistani skipper the latter without completing the toss said ‘congratulations’, saying the Indian skipper had won the toss.
In the press, Fareshteh Gati-Aslam, a sports journalist, wrote that in a One Day match held at Nottingham, UK, Bookie, three accomplices netted Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis had deliberately bowled so badly that England scored more than 300 runs though earlier they had demolished the English team in the Test series.
After the series played between Pakistan and Australia in Pakistan in 1994-95, Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh accused the then Pakistani Captain Salim Malik of offering them bribes to bowl badly in a Test and a One-Day matches. (Pakistan had eventually won the Test match by one wicket.)
Justice Malik Qayyum of Lahore High Court conducted a judicial inquiry into the match fixing allegations in 1998 and recommended a ban for life on Salim Malik and removal of Wasim Akram as captain and banning Ataur Rehman from playing international cricket.