New Delhi/Mumbai: Cricket betting syndicates linked with underworld gangs operating primarily in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka allegedly paid “protection money” to disgraced Mumbai crime branch officer, Sachin Vaze, presently being interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at its Mumbai office. Vaze’s aide Naresh Gor, a well known bookie in Mumbai, identified betting syndicates and extorted ‘protection money’ during cricket season at the behest of former crime branch officer, highly placed sources revealed to IANS.
Commenting on the Vaze’s multi-crore extortion racket, reportedly patronised by key people in Maharashtra government, the BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said that besides extorting large amount of money from dance bars and clubs, Vaze’s men were minting money by sheltering betting cartels.” Naresh Gor, a big time bookie, was Vaze’s pointsman who targeted illegal betting rings operating in the state, and collected huge amounts from them. The extortion racket requires a thorough probe to unmask the real faces behind this hafta vasooli,” Ram Kadam, three times MLA from Mumbai told IANS.
31-year-old Naresh Gor, who hails from Kutch, was associated with top cricket betting syndicates spread across India’s west coast from Gujarat to Karnataka. According to ATS Mumbai, Naresh Gor procured dozens of SIM cards on fake IDs from a trader in Ahmedabad. The trader identified as Kishore Thakkar has now been detained by the NIA, which is probing the Mansukh Hiren case. Bookie, Naresh Gor was arrested in murder of Mansukh, the owner of the explosive laden SUV, parked near billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s famous house Antilia located in posh south Mumbai area of Mumbai.
Sources said as the cricket betting racket operates in India through mobile phones and other similar gadgets, Naresh Gor was specialised in procuring SIM cards, phone sets, wifi routers and dongles in bulk on fake ids.”On Vaze’s instructions, Naresh procured 93 SIM cards, 14 mobile phones between March 3 to March 5, to execute the plan for killing Mansukh Hiren,” said an officer of ATS, Mumbai adding, “In fact Vinayak Shinde, a tainted cop also involved in the murder had earlier introduced Gor to Vaze.” Sources said through Vinayak Shinde, bookie Gor made connections in the underworld and started targeting top bookies to extort protection money on behalf of Vaze. Most of the online betting syndicates operate from Middle East countries and are further linked to the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
Meanwhile, NIA recovered a secret diary from arrested cop Vinayak Shinde’s residence. While Gor collected funds from betting syndicates, Shinde was reportedly extorting money from dance bars and restaurants. Sources said that recovered diary reveals that Shinde, currently out on parole in another murder, was collecting ‘protection money’ from more than 30 bars and clubs in Mumbai. “Now it’s important to identify those in whose accounts or the hands this black money was being transferred to. Obviously the beneficiaries seem to be the powerful people who patronised Vaze’s extortion racket, we hope NIA unmasks such people involved in one of the biggest loot in India’s commercial capital,” BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said.