CHENNAI: Retired deputy superintendents of police (DSPs), security guards and vendors helped the ICC and BCCI's Anti-Corruption Units (ACUs) to apprehend suspects during the recently concluded ODI World Cup. The latter came up with the idea while assisting the ICC's unit for the marquee event held in the country from October 5 to November 19.
The measure is said to have helped the units identify and nab a few miscreants from Ahmedabad and Kolkata and hand them over to local police. It is learnt that the suspects were booked under various sections of the relevant laws (read Gambling Act).
"Services of as many as 10 retired DSP ranked officers were taken for the purpose," a source in the know of things told this daily. Notably, the tournament was played across 10 venues with Ahmedabad and Kolkata hosting five matches each. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad hosted the inaugural match as well as the final while Eden Gardens hosted the second semifinal between Australia and South Africa.
"A DSP, who was acquainted with the process, was deputed at each venue. They, in turn, briefed the security guards and vendors of their respective venues. The guards and vendors were told how a suspect could be spotted. There are several ways to zero down on a suspect. Usually, the pitchsiders (originally known as courtsiding) disguised as spectators pass on information to their employers over the phone taking advantage of a slight delay in transmission (process is known as courtsiding). This information then can be used to place bets on the matches. So the guards and vendors were asked to keep an eye on those who were making calls frequently and passing on match details," added the source.
The ACU unit has a list of suspects which helps it to identify the miscreants. The suspects, in their bid to dodge the authorities and evade arrest, generally hire people who are not on the list. "A few such incidents happened in Ahmedabad as well as Kolkata. Most of those, who were evicted from the venues, were not on the list of suspects but the briefing helped in identifying those who were acting as pitchsiders. The responsibility of guards and vendors was to inform the retired cop once they found out the suspects. The deputed official then made sure those under suspicion were evicted from the stadiums with the help of the local police," said the source.
The source claimed that the initial clampdown by the authorities alerted the suspects as most of them refrained from watching the match from stands in the latter stages of the tournament. "Those who bet on cricket matches are linked to each other. Once a few arrests were made, others retreated. So in that way, the strategy bore fruits."
Given the laws in the country on betting, the suspects were later released on bail. "We cannot control that but at least the exercise helped us update our list and identify more pitchsiders. It certainly prevented the bookies and other notorious elements from operating freely during the tournament," signed off the source.