Five arrested in ODI ticket racket

| 10 April 2001 23:04 IST

Goa police today arrested five persons, including Goa Cricket Association treasurer Rama Shankardas, contractor Chinmay Fallari and Tamil Nadu-based printer, while bringing to light shocking facts regarding sale of bogus tickets of one-day international cricket match held here on 6 April.

"Till now we have found that over 24,000 bogus tickets were sold worth Rs 85 to 90 lakh", says SP (South) I D Shukla, who is in-charge of the police investigations. Both the contractor as well as the GCA officials have been found involved in the bogus ticket scam.

Though Shankardas is known to be the close aide of Dayanand Narvekar, the GCA president and the opposition MLA, the latter has declined to owe responsibility of the racket, stating that the managing committee would shortly decide the fate of its office bearers, if they are found guilty.

"I am very happy that the scandal has broken and we will fully co-operate with the investigations", states Narvekar. The police last night found counterfoils of tickets, a floppy and Rs 60,000 when they raided residence of Shankardas.

The police have found that the GCA had circulated and sold around 4000 extra tickets, bringing on record printing of 750 such tickets of Rs 750 each by one computer expert, as special passes. Few tickets of blank computer sheets were also attached which, state the police, would have been used as genuine tickets.

Narvekar however claims that he was aware of only 1100 special passes which were printed in Panaji last minute to distribute to Ranaji players and some VVIPs, when the GCA had found some vacant slots in the stadium. "The GCA never authorised anybody to print bogus tickets ", he states.

According to him, secretary Vinod Phadke was given the responsibility of printing and handing over tickets to the contractor. "I am not aware whether he sought help of Shankardas in it", he said. Though police did not find any evidence at Phadke's residence, Shukla confirmed that they are still interrogating other GCA office bearers to fix the responsibility of printing the tickets.

Though the police have still not decided when to summon Narvekar for investigations or also whether the president should also be held responsible for the crime, Narvekar says he is prepared to go to the police station when summoned. "We however cannot hold the whole organisation responsible for it", clarifies SP Shukla.

On the other hand, contractor Fallari has confessed to the police of having printed 3000 bogus tickets of Rs 500 each, 1000 each of Rs 750 and Rs 500 each and as well as 15,000 tickets of Rs 200 each, at Sivkasi in Tamil Nadu, amounting to Rs 65.5 lakh.

The police have thus also arrested Jayrajan Ramaswamy, the printer, as well as Fallari's brother Devdatt who had gone there to get the bogus tickets printed. Besides this, they have also arrested Gangaram Bhise, one of his unauthorised ticket seller.

The raid conducted at their respective residences and hotel rooms has discovered list of unauthorised ticket agents, allotted number of genuine and bogus tickets as well as few pieces of burnt bogus tickets.

The racket appears to be really sizeable as the genuine tickets printed were only 17,300 while the contractor had paid Rs 68 lakh to the GCA for 14,300 tickets supplied to him. Contrary to this, the police find that almost 90 lakh was collected by selling bogus tickets.

The police is also probing into complaints about even passes, from among total 12,700, sold at a heavy price. While around 70 persons have been interrogated so far, the police are still gathering more evidence by sending teams to various places in Goa as well as outside.

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