Nepean Sea Road resident Ramesh Vyas, identified to be one of the main bookies in the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scam, allegedly cheated employees of a sweet shop in Kalbadevi, several housewives and his own domestic help to acquire a stack of SIM cards that the Mumbai police discovered after raiding an apartment in Kalbadevi in May, according to the chargesheet. These SIM cards were used to connect between India and Pakistan during IPL 2013 season for placing bets, says the 11,059-page chargesheet prepared after probe that relied heavily on phone intercepts and screening fake SIM cards.
The police said Vyas, who operated a cellphone shop, told two Mumbai-based housewives they would get free cellphones if they handed over copies of their voter ID and other personal documents. He also allegedly duped the sweet shop employees, telling them that the money was being deducted from their ‘service funds’. He acquired their documents after promising to help get past government procedures. To his own house help, he said documents were required for processing his police verification employee card, but used his documents to buy fake SIM cards instead, the chargesheet says.
Of the 92 cellphones seized, 30 were used to facilitate conference calls between bookies based in Pakistan and UAE with those in India. The chargesheet says these 30 instruments are all Nokia models, mostly second-hand. As many as 81 of the phones used GSM and four CDMA, sources said. “Thirty phone numbers were used only for international conference calls,” said a Crime Branch officer.
The Mumbai-Regional Transport Office (RTO) has given a statement to the Crime Branch, saying that 25 SIM cards were procured with fake vehicle documents.
Vyas and the other accused had set up an illegal phone exchange, says the chargesheet.
An analysis of Vyas’ phone has also shown that between May 9 and May 12, 2013, when the sixth edition of the IPL was under way, he sent and received 18 text messages, of which many were bets placed by Shobhan Mehta and Pawan Jaipur. One message, sent by Vyas at 3.52 pm on May 12, stands out. It says, “Agar match m barsaat aa gayi toh al maths wil may b wrong.” (If it rains,