The police producing the accused including Peerla Venkateswarlu (T shirt) before the media in Kurnool on Tuesday
The police producing the accused including Peerla Venkateswarlu (T shirt) before the media in Kurnool on Tuesday

Kurnool: A three-member gang of Alampur in Jogulamba Gadwal district involved in the cricket betting was nabbed here on Tuesday, along with Rs 2.55 lakh in cash, seven cell phones, an old notebook, ten promissory notes and two ATM cards.

A former software engineer, Peerla Venkateswarlu, is leader of the gang which secured a firm footing in Kurnool. Five other accused persons are absconding, after they got scent of the approaching police.

The gang members were allegedly acting as agents of bookies operating in Kadapa and Anantapur districts. Additional SP Sheik Vali produced the gang before the media at Two Town police station here.  

The police launched search operations to nab the absconding gang members. The ASP stated that following the interrogation of the gang members there was suspicion that either present or past cricketers were resorting to betting. He warned youth, who become addicts to cricket betting would face problems.

Among those present at the media conference were Kurnool DSP S Khader Basha, CI Degala Prabhakar and SI Mohan Kishore Reddy. According to ASP, Venkateswarlu, who worked in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, had been operating the cricket betting racket for the last three years. He had returned to Alampur four yeara back following an accident. 

A cricketer himself, he had risen to the level of accepting bets and became the agent of bookies Shakur of Tadipatri (Anantapur) district and Vijay of Proddatur (Kadapa). Venkateswarlu was caught once by the Alampur police, but managed to escape. He had shifted to Kurnool, after the police increased their vigil in Alampur. 

He had been living in flat where the betting racket was launched, along with Shaik Wasim Javed and Juturu Rajesh of Alampur, besides five others. The gang members used WhatsApp, besides cell phones, to accept betting. Venkateswarlu used to secure promissory notes from losers of bets, if they failed to pay amounts, or snatch their ATM cards.

The gang conducted betting two days back on the Sri Lanka-India Test scheduled in Kolkata.  Following information, the police gave a chase to Venkateswarlu while he was collecting betting money. They caught Javed (28) and Rajesh, while Sandeep, Amarnath Reddy of Anantapur, Ramana Reddy of Tadipatri and Suryapratap Reddy of Kadiri managed to escape, along with Hari Balaji and Kiran Kumar of Alampur.