IPL betting payoffs link to Delhi heist?

According to the police, most of the robbed cash belonged to Rajesh Kalra, an alleged south Delhi-based bookie.

Delhi Police have failed to make any headway in the Rs.7.69 crore rush-hour heist on an arterial road in the capital, an official said on Wednesday, adding they were also looking for the source of the money robbed. But, police sources have said that the daring heist near the Moolchand flyover in South Delhi on Tuesday morning, could be linked to the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

Times of India quoted Delhi Police sources as saying that the heist, the capital's biggest robbery, may be linked to the IPL spot-fixing scandal and that the looted cash could in fact amount to Rs 15-20 crore, a part of which was meant for payoffs to bettors and also included foreign currency.

According to the police, most of the robbed cash belonged to Rajesh Kalra, an alleged south Delhi-based bookie. Kalra was named by the Delhi Police in the chargesheet in the infamous cricket match-fixing scandal of 2000 that also involved Hansie Cronje, the then captain of South African team. The muddled tale of the moolah.

Kalra was initially reluctant to give details to the police and claimed that he couldn't remember the exact amount.

Kalra confessed late on Wednesday night that the entire money was his, Times of India reported. Earlier, it was believed that a major portion of the cash belonged to his business partner, Rahul Ahuja.

The Times of India report further said that call detail records, coupled with the interrogation of Kalra and the occupants of the Honda City (which was carrying the cash) has revealed that Kalra had close links with other bookies and was "very active" in betting circles. He also has close links with Chandresh Jain alias Jupiter, a prominent bookie and jeweller based in Jaipur and London bookie Sanjeev Chawla, police said. A police team has left for Jaipur to probe the betting connection.

"We are probing if the robbery was fallout of the police crackdown on betting syndicates. Neither Kalra nor Ahuja were questioned during the IPL scandal. Some bookies have told us that they believed Kalra had been tipping off the special cell off about other bookies. They did not sound very pleased with him," an officer was quoted as saying by Times of India.

The police have also got a tip-off that the Jaguar car which actor Vindoo Dara Singh was using at the time of his arrest belonged to Rajesh Kalra, according to Times of India. "We are yet to verify this information," an officer said.

The police suspect that betting syndicates may have masterminded the heist as some bookies suspected Kalra was tipping off cops during IPL. They also feel that the heist was probably planned from Rohtak jail with the needle of suspicion pointing towards Ashok Ghogha, a kin of Kalra staffer Sandeep (who was in the Honda City), is lodged in that prison, Times of India said.

The police claimed to have found some hazy CCTV footage of the accused involved in the robbery from near the Moolchand flyover in South Delhi on Tuesday morning.

In three clippings, the accused can be seen following the car carrying the cash from Kalkaji. The police have got five sets of finger prints of the accused, according to a Mail Today report. They have also conducted several raids in Jhajjar and Rohtak districts of Haryana in last 24 hours, but without any success.

A Delhi Police special cell officer told Mail Today they were trying to find out if the money was meant for any betting deal that took place during the ongoing cricket match series between India and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the first information report (FIR) of the heist, of which the news agency IANS has a copy, did not mention the money's source.

Kalra's business partner and manager Rakesh Kumar Sharma, 32, who also deals in diamonds, in the FIR he filed stated that he usually deposited cash of Kalra and himself at a Punjab National Bank branch in Karol Bagh.

On Tuesday morning, he along with his employees was going to deposit the money when the robbers struck.

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