JUNE 2, 2018
Actor-producer Arbaaz Khan, brother of superstar Salman Khan, was questioned for four hours on Saturday by the Thane anti-extortion cell (AEC) in connection with the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting case. While questioning, the names of two more Bollywood producers – Parag Sanghvi and Murad Khaitan – have come up.
The police said Khan may be made the prime witness in the IPL betting racket which was busted on May 18 with the arrest of three bookies from Dombivli. Khan’s name cropped up after the arrest of one of India’s biggest bookie, Sonu Jalan, 42, on Tuesday.
Pradeep Sharma, senior inspector, Thane AEC said on Saturday, “Two Bollywood producers, Parag Sanghvi and Murad Khaitan’s names have cropped up. We will call them for questioning. Shaghvi was Jalan’s partner. A top bookie who is a Mumbai-based builder’s son, Dilip Ludhani, has also been named. We are probing further. We will call Khan again if needed.”
On Friday, the AEC had issued summons to Khan to record his statement. Khan, who was escorted by Shera, Salman’s bodyguard and close friend on Saturday, came out of the AEC office in Court Naka, Thane, after 4.30pm. “I am cooperating with the investigation. Whatever the police will ask, I will give all the information,” he said. Khan and Jalan, who have known each other for five to six years according to the police, were questioned together. “Khan admitted to betting in cricket matches for several years”, said deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Thane crime, Abhishek Trimukhe.
Last year, Khan placed a bet and lost 2.83 crore, said Sharma. “When Jalan asked for the money, Khan said he can’t pay him. Jalan also threatened him after that,” he said.
The AEC also seized a land-holding machine – a device used to place bets on on-going matches – from Jalan’s house in Malad. “The machine has several phones connected to a charger. It also has earphones and volumes buttons to talk to different bookies at the same time,” said inspector Rajkumar Kothmire, Thane AEC.
The police had also seized a diary which had handwritten names and phone numbers of around 100 punters and 50 masters (masters are those who collect money) recently.
They scrutinized the arrested accused’s call records and found many photos of Jalan and Khan together. Jalan had also told the police that Khan was present in one of the meetings held in Dubai last year.