- Five NRIs and three American nabbed
- Seized nearly $2 million in cash and $1 million
worth of jewellery
Betting racket busted in US, 5 NRIs held
Washington, February 17, 2006
In a major police operation, an NRI family and two
other Indian Americans have been arrested in the Washington
metro area and charged with running a multi-million
dollar sports gambling racket that involved hundreds
Police seized nearly $2 million (Rs 9 crore) in cash
and $1 million worth of jewellery in a coordinated
sweep of more than 25 homes, business and financial
institutions in Northern Virginia, Maryland and North
Raj Kumar Bansal, 59, and his two sons, Nicholas
Bansal, 34, and Steven Bansal, 31, have been identified
as the "ringleaders". The other two NRIs
in custody are Gaurav Gupta, 25, and Rajan Harjani,
Three others nabbed in the case are: Sharon R. Connelly,
65, Thomas N. Chinault, 57, and Michael D. Linton,
Without revealing details on how the gambling operation
was run, the police said it primarily involved betting
on professional football and basketball games.
Participants could place bets on the phone, the internet
or at businesses serving as fronts for the operation.
Dubbed "Operation Underdog", the police
investigation lasted over two years. The men have
been charged with "crimes more reminiscent of
1920s Chicago than today's Washington suburbs",
said media reports quoting police officials.
Captain David S. Vice, commander of the Fairfax County
Police Department's Organised Crime and Narcotics
Division, said the suspects had "hundreds and
hundreds, if not close to thousands" of clients
and collected millions of dollars a year.
Each of the Bansals have been charged with conducting
illegal gambling operation, racketeering and money
Raj and Nicholas Bansal have additionally been charged
with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
One of the suspects, Linton, has been charged with
extortion or using threats of violence to seize property