Mumbai: Bookies are finding it hard to extract their dues from clients, many of whom are women with clout in Bollywood and political circles. The recent crackdown on the spot-fixing racket has caused losses worth Rs 5,000 crore to bookies in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, sources have revealed. Punters, who had earlier placed bets on matches, have now turned the tables on the bookies, refusing to pay them their dues, based on the logic that the matches were fixed.

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In fact, sources have revealed that a Bollywood actor’s mother lost Rs 7 crore after placing bets on the IPL matches, and still owes the whopping sum to bookies. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a prominent Mumbai-based bookie, who receives bets in Mumbai and Delhi, claimed that the betting ring in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane is populated by as many as 200 women.

Bookies, forced underground since the spot-fixing scam broke, have been making calls to these betters who lost money on bets placed for IPL matches, in hope of exacting their ill-gotten gains from the clients. The task however is turning out to be harder than they had anticipated.

Their clients have now gone on the offensive. Refusing to pay for their losses, these betters claim that the bookies cheated them by taking bets from them and then fixing the matches to rob them of profits. A source revealed that four days ago, a bookie approached one such better at her residence in Bhandup.

Asked to cough up Rs 17 lakh that she had lost in matches, the woman refused, saying that she had no idea that the matches were being fixed. When the bookie in question threatened retribution from his underworld connections, the woman retaliated by threatening to lodge a rape case against him. The bookie was left with no option but to retreat.

Another regular on the betting scene owes bookies Rs 7 crore, an amount she lost after placing bets on IPL matches this season. However, bookies are cowering at the thought of approaching her for the payment, as she happens to be mother to one the most celebrated actors in Bollywood. Yet another client happens to be a prominent yesteryears actress.

Another client, a sitting Congress corporator in the Ulhasnagar civic body, bets massive amounts on IPL matches. A Sena corporator also features in this betting circle, her husband a notorious criminal in Ulhasnagar. Besides these heavyweights, betters identified by names like Shakku Colaba, Anita Khar alias Anita Gymkhana, Geeta Lokhandwala, Simple Alexandra and Rozy Antop Hill, are regulars on the scene.

A punter said, requesting anonymity, “Ek bookie ne mujhse kaha ki uska Rs 25 lakh loss ho gaya hai. Usne interest par rupaye lagaye they. Mujhe bhai ko upar pahunchana hai. Nahin dogi to meri aur aapki jaan ko khatra hai (A bookie told me that he had run suffered losses of Rs 25 lakh. He had borrowed money on interest from the market to place the bets. He said, ‘I have to send money up to the bhai. If you don’t pay up, there is a threat to your life as well as mine’).”

Courtesy: Mid-day