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  Friday, 21 December, 2001, 14:43 GMT
Illegal betting 'still rife'
Anti-Corruption Investigator Lord Condon
Lord Condon has been liasing with Indian police
England's Test series in India may have been the subject of more than 400m worth of illegal bets.

A Daily Telegraph report claims 140m was bet in India on the first two games, with a similar sum expected to be laid by the end of the current game in Bangalore.

The newspaper echoes the report published earlier this year by International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption investigator Lord Condon by suggesting that several murders may be linked to illegal gambling on cricket.

"It is a dangerous world. I met one bookmaker, who didn't want to be named, and he said to me that 19 murders have taken place," reporter Mihir Bose told BBC Radio Five Live.

Mobile phones are used for bets on cricket as on-course race betting is the only legal way to place wagers in India.

But Bose has not uncovered any evidence of attempts to involve players in match-fixing during the series.

Telephone bets are big business
Betting lines are provided illegally

"What you do is buy or rent a line for a certain sum of money and one line will give you the odds as they change, another line might actually tell you what the big punters are betting.

"These are bets changing every minute," he said.

The amount wagered illegally in India contrasts sharply with the sums bet on the series in England.

The Telegraph says the entire bookmaking industry in England, where fixed-odds bets cannot be laid while play is going on, is unlikely to take more than 100,000 on the series.

Only last month, the United Cricket Board of South Africa voiced concern about reports of illegal gambling on their home series against India.

It followed the arrest of three men in Delhi when various items, including computers, mobile phones and a calculator were seized during a raid.

Anything related to bookmakers and cricket is a sensitive issue in the Republic following the life ban on former captain Hansie Cronje for taking money in return for match information.

An ongoing inquiry into illegal betting is being conducted by India's Central Bureau of Investigation.

Such are the rewards for bookmakers that, according to Bose, attempts to "nobble"' players are still going on.

That is bad news for the ICC, who are determined to stamp out corruption within the game.

So far five players - Cronje, Indians Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma, and Salim Malik and Ata-ur-rehman - have been given life bans as a result of various match-fixing inquiries.

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Mihir Bose
"It is a staggering amount"
All the reports from the Test match

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See also:

07 Nov 01 | India in South Africa
23 May 01 | Corruption in Cricket
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