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Bengaluru: Ranjitha, a 23-year-old housewife, was found hanging at her home in Karnataka’s Chitradurga. As cops investigated the death, they unearthed a grim saga involving cricket betting and a debt of over Rs 1 crore involving her husband Darshan Babu.

An assistant engineer in the Minor Irrigation Department, Darshan Babu, started betting on IPL matches in 2021, a year after his marriage to Ranjitha. His father-in-law says that Darshan was lured into cricket betting with a promise of quick money.

Darshan was told that he could make easy money by betting on IPL matches and there was hardly any risk involved. The gang running the betting racket even promised to finance his bets if he would give them blank cheques as security.

The engineer, who police say is in his late 20s, caved in and started betting on Indian Premier League (IPL) games. He won at first and started placing bigger bets.

But luck, as it often does, turned its back on him, leaving behind a trail of losses. Hooked on the allure of betting, he had no option but to borrow money at high-interest rates and ended up with debts of over 1 crore by the end of the IPL season in 2023.

The weight of Darshan’s debts bore down heavily on the young couple, who have a two-year-old son. What also followed was constant harassment by the moneylenders, which eventually drove Ranjitha to suicide.  

Police found Ranjitha at her home on March 18. During the investigation, they also found a suicide note detailing the constant threats and harassment by the moneylenders.

Her father in his complaint has named 13 people and accused them of intimidating and threatening the couple.

Three of the lenders have been arrested and police say investigation in the case is still on.

Ranjitha’s tragic death has spurred a conversation on the dark world of online betting. Last year, the Enforcement Directorate unearthed a betting ring called Mahadev where the promoters had racked up over Rs 400 crore. The Mahadev app came under the crosshairs of probe agencies only after a Rs 200-crore wedding in the UAE this February, paid for entirely in cash.

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