6 Mins Read
Regulating the Indian gambling industry has been a sore thumb for the policymakers and law enforcement officers. The country has struggled to implement control and regulation for gambling, leading to several crackdowns that have been conducted to prevent unlawful activities. The most recent raids occurred in Maharashtra, more specifically in Mumbai.
On August 13, Thane (rural) police conducted a raid at a farmhouse situated on the road between Thane and neighbouring Ghodbunder.
On basis of prior surveillance and information on illegal gambling activities taking place in the house, the raid was led by Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sanjay Kumar Patil, under the guidance of newly-appointed SP Shivaji Rathod.
The raiding team entered the premises at 11:30 pm and approximately 28 people who were present at the scene were arrested. The arrested individuals were mainly residents of Gujarat that were utilizing instant messaging and phone communication in order to receive and forward Matka bets.
They were booked under Sections 4 and 5 of the Mumbai Prevention of Gambling Act and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as per which the game of Matka is considered illegal and those participating in it are subjected to legal prosecution and punishment.
It has been reported that, “the authorities obtained cash located in the house, a laptop, further facilitating operation, as well as a total of 58 mobile phones aiding the wagering process. The individuals arrested were taken to the District Sessions Court and further investigation into the gambling ring is set to ensue.”
The police have also stated that the farmhouse belongs to Savla brothers who allegedly control a thriving matka business across the country.
The next day, i.e. on August 14, a team of more than 25 officials of the Mumbai Crime Branch busted a high-profile gambling racket at the Sahara Star hotel near the Mumbai domestic airport which led to the arrest of 46 businessmen.
High stakes gamblers were found having booked seven rooms in the five star hotel for conducting their illegal activities.
According to the Mirror, “the crime branch has recovered Rs 17,50,000 from the criminals out of which Rs16,00,000 were in cash and Rs 1,00,000 worth of whiskey. The 46 businessmen who have been arrested in relation to the gambling racket are well known in the circles and five of them are well known bookies of Mumbai.”
Among the arrested were top five bookies who were involved in a game of ‘Flush’ at the time of the raid. They were booked under relevant sections of the Gambling Act, which is a bailable offence.