Though the police claim to be hot on the heels of notorious betting kingpin Dinesh Kalgi, sources close to the investigation into one of the largest betting scams ever busted in Ahmedabad say that he may have escaped from Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the metropolitan court has granted bail to one of alleged subordinates, Harish Gajjar, on the ground of a lack of evidence. According to defence lawyer PK Pathak, Gajjar was granted bail after the police investigation failed to find any substantial evidence from his home. Moreover, the charges under which he had been booked did not fit under sections three and four of the Bombay Gambling Act, Pathak said.
The crime branch is still on the lookout for Kalgi, considered the kingpin of betting in western India. “We have searched all his hiding spots as well as his home and the homes of friends. But he is still at large,” a policeman close to the investigation said.
Kalgi may have made his way out of Ahmedabad and could be hiding elsewhere, the policeman said. “But we are looking for him and will arrest him soon,” he said. The police are also investigating his international nexus, especially in Pakistan.
Kalgi is believed to be on good terms with many top political leaders, irrespective of the party. “He is the baron of all bookies in the state. The satta rates here are opened by him. In case someone else opens the satta rates, he is consulted first,” a source in the police said.
Meanwhile, Niranjan Singh Virk of the ICC’s anti-corruption security unit interrogated Gajjar on Thursday, seeking to probe into Kalgi’s international bookie network, his links with cricketers and involvement in match-fixing rackets. Virk interrogated Gajjar for an hour and a half at the crime branch and gathered information on Kalgi’s activities.
Kalgi has been wanted since two of his subordinates were arrested by the Detection of Crime Branch at Shanti Tower in Ambawadi last Saturday. The two who were arrested alleged had networks with Pakistan-based bookies and had made more than 3,000 calls there in the last three months. During the probe in this direction, the police found that Gajjar had been working for Kalgi, who ran a resort in Paldi which was infamous for gambling.