Suspected bookie Gilhotra crimes

The ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit warning to IPL franchises about Karan Gilhotra, a suspected bookie, in 2014 amounts to this: He goes to matches; he knows cricketers; he attends after-parties.
Gilhotra is in the news because of the ICC’s letter to the BCCI warning them of Gilhotra’s association with board security Anurag Thakur. There were photos of Thakur and Gilhotra eating cake together. Thakur responded with a furious letter that called out Srinivasan for playing politics and refusing to accept the Thakur had won the election for BCCI secretary
The ACSU reportedly sent all the IPL franchises a letter in 2014 warning them to stay away from Gilhotra but the reasons why could apply to almost anyone who has connections (which happens a lot in India) and likes going to IPL games (which also happens a lot in India).
He (Gilhotra) is believed to be in touch with a number of players spread amongst various franchisees and often manages to obtain hospitality invites to matches, more specifically matches being played in Mohali,” quotes the Economic Times from the ACSU warning letter. “He has often also managed to get into some of the post-match parties organised by the franchisees at the hotels.”
Considering that Gilhotra lives in Chandigarh and is well known on the political and party circuit, it stands to reason he would be invited to matches at Mohali.
According to the Indian Express, “[Gilhotra] has been spotted with the country’s top industrialists and Bollywood A-listers. Gilhotra is known to host lavish parties at his residence and five-star hotels with bigwigs from the judiciary, bureaucracy, politicians, IAS and IPS officers of the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, among others.”
Nobody with Gilhotra’s lifestyle and interests would miss out on a tournament that attracts practically everybody who is anybody in India. If that is all it takes to become a person of suspicion, then everyone who is friends with any of the cricketers or franchise officials is equally suspect.
There is even a photo of Gilhotra with Yuvraj Singh dated September 2012 at what appears to be an even hosted by noted watchmaker Ulysse Nardin.
The ACSU letter does say Gilhotra is “strongly rumoured” to bet on the IPL, but given India’s thriving illegal betting industry, that would also be true of most people who have money and follow the IPL.
The letter asks players to inform the ACSU “if he has approached anyone for any information or favour” but no evidence is presented to show that he has ever done that.
The Indian Express does cite sources claiming “Gilhotra’s name caught the attention of the ICC in May 2013 after cricketer S Sreesanth was allegedly caught on camera with a girl at a five-star hotel in Chandigarh.”
However, the ACSU officer responsible for tracking Gilhotra, Niranjan Virk, chose not to comment. “I am not authorised to speak to the media. I would like to stay away from any controversial comments,” he said.
None of this is to say Gilhotra is definitively innocent. Just that the evidence presented is as thin as a 14-year-old’s moustache. What it does definitively show is that it is extremely difficult to police a tournament like the IPL, where entertainment is as much a part of the event as cricket. There are so many overlapping circles that separating coincidence from complicity is all but impossible.
Gilhotra, who is 38, comes from a small village called Ghaniani near Fazilka in Punjab. The Tribune reports he is in the Limca Book of records for being the youngest ever sarpanch in India, having been elected “unanimously elected” when he was 21 years and four months old.
He moved to Chandigarh a few years ago, where he owns s Honda dealership and franchise of Salman Khan’s Being Human clothing chain, according to the Indian Express. Gilhotra’s Facebook page has a number of photos of him and Salman together.
Gilhotra also has other connections to cricket as well. The Indian Express reports that he is a promoter of Celebrity Cricket League team Punjab de Sher and hosted a match in Chandigarh recently in which actors Sunil Shetty, Sohail Khan and Bobby Deol all played.
The Indian Express also said he has a “close affiliation with the SAD, the political party in power in Punjab”.
Gilhotra denied he had any links to bookies in an interview with the Mumbai Mirror:
“I have known Anurag [Thakur] for 10 years,” he said. He is a good friend. I am friends with a lot of people in the cricket fraternity and other celebrities. If you are seen socialising with somebody it does not mean that you are doing something wrong. If there is any such list that they have prepared sitting in their offices, why did not they share it with me or informed me?”
He said he has written to the ICC and asked them to provide him with the evidence against him.
“Who is stopping? Where is the hassle?’ Because someone doesn’t like my face, he or she can’t malign me.”

Suspected-bookie-Gilhotra-crimes

About the author

Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.

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