Law enforcement officials in Jaipur, India, have arrested two individuals they alleged were the ringleaders of major gambling syndicates operating out of the region. The pair were accused of leading illegal underground domestic and international sportsbooks that have already taken bets totaling more than $431 million during the current Indian Premier League (IPL).
Deepak Maheshwari and Ramesh Kumar Gangwal were nabbed by police after investigators were able to follow their digital trails. The duo were allegedly running their operations through the international gambling site Betfair, as well as its affiliates.
Betfair reportedly cannot be accessed from computers that have IP addresses in India. The company began blocking the addresses this past January, but this hasn’t stopped the more creative gambling netizens and entrepreneurs from gaining access. The bookies reportedly used virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass the ban and access the sites.
Gangwal is allegedly a mastermind being India’s gambling mafia. He has been linked by police to groups operating out of Pakistan and Dubai and investigators determined that he had been in recent contact with a “super boss” out of Punjab that offers lines and franchisees to bookies or agents so they can run their operations. In return, the super boss gets a cut of the action.
The apparent gambling fan and entrepreneur isn’t a stranger to police. He was arrested in Mumbai in 2013, along with other gambling operators, for illegal gambling, but is still in on the game.
According to Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Prashan Kumar Kham, Gangwal is part of a syndicate that extends across the region. He would allegedly appoint “masters” to seek out new clients, and Khamesra adds, “These masters acted as located agents, they would take some commission to open the accounts for their clients. A proper chain of profits and commission was drawn.”
The All India Gaming Federation has been trying to cut off illegal gambling in the country, but it is more resilient than the mythological Hydra. The group has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take more action to prevent gambling, which is almost completely banned in the country except for state-run lotteries—and to block websites that are not in compliance with India’s laws.