Bookie forced Arbaaz Khan to appear at public events after he failed to pay: Police
Bollywood actor Arbaaz Khan on Saturday admitted to betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the help of bookie Sonu Jalan, the alleged kingpin of the racket, and losing a large amount in the recently concluded series.
His confession came before a team of Thane Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) which is probing the IPL betting scam since the past five-six years involving several crores of rupees.
The 50-year-old was summoned before the AEC, was confronted with a prominent bookie Sonu Jalan, alias Sonu Batla or Sonu Malad, who was arrested five days ago from Thane, besides four other bookies nabbed late last month.
During the interrogation, the name of Khan cropped up beside some handwritten diary entries and a picture of the producer-actor with Jalan and others allegedly involved in IPL betting, following which the actor was summoned to record his statement.
Arbaaz Khan admits to betting
During questioning, Khan told cops that he was introduced to Jalan by a common friend seven years ago.
He also admitted to betting a huge amount in the IPL series, that concluded on May 27, and losing an even bigger amount, estimated to run into several millions of rupees, but officials refused to reveal exact figures.
The actor was reportedly apprehensive about meeting Jalan alone as he was aware of his habit of recording conversations. He had learned about it after an incident involving the alleged blackmailing of a government official by Jalan came to the fore.
Khan honoured the police summons and reached the AEC office in Thane on Saturday to record his statement, in which he has reportedly named several other Bollywood personalities who indulge in betting large amounts in IPL.
“I had come to record my statement and I will continue to cooperate with the investigation,” he told reporters after leaving the premises.
Bookie forced Khan to make public appearances
Jalan, meanwhile, told cops that no money changed hands as far as Khan was concerned.
However, when the actor’s losses mounted to Rs 2.80 crore, he was asked to settle his dues. When Khan said he couldn’t pay, Jalan started threatening him and forced him to appear at public events so he could flout his connections and attract high-profile clients.
“Though Jalan kept records of Khan’s wins and losses, no money changed hands. It was only after a spate of losses that there was an argument between the actor and Jalan. After this, Jalan started harassing him to accompany him to various events like local Ganesh mandals and Holi festivities so that he could flaunt his Bollywood connections and gather more clients,” an officer told the Times of India.
The bookie would also accompany Khan to IPL matches and use the opportunity to make contacts.
Since Khan’s family did not approve of his betting, he severed ties with Jalan a few months back. However, the latter started harassing the ‘Dabangg’ actor to resume betting.
More names crop up
Apart from Khan, the names of two more producers and a bookie cropped up during interrogation.
“Two Bollywood producers, Parag Sanghvi and Murad Khaitan’s names have cropped up. We will call them for questioning. A top bookie, Dilip Ludhani, has also been named. We are probing further,” Pradeep Sharma told reporters.
Jalan reportedly had over 1200 clients, and he was among 100 others who were all handled by a superior. Police believe that superior’s nickname was Junior Kolkata and he has already left the country.