58 held at illegal casino in capital
Ahead of Diwali, Delhi Police busted a sports gambling den and arrested 58people who were allegedly playing casino from a hotel room in south Delhi’s Ghitorni area on Sunday night.
According to the police, Delhi and NCR based young traders and businessmen were contacted through WhatsApp by the organisers who invited them for sports gambling at a makeshift casino made in the basement of a hotel on Mehrauli-Gurugram road.
During the late-night raid, cops arrested 58 people who were involved in sports gambling. Police also recovered Rs 11 lakh and 6,000 plastic tokens (used for placing bets in a casino) worth `84 lakh and five specially designed poker tables. They have also seized a large quantity of illicit liquor and hukkah from the hotel.
“We received inputs about a makeshift casino running from the basement of Imperial hotel in Ghitorni area. Several teams were made who conducted the raid. We cross-checked the information and verified the guest entries before conducting the raid,” said Devendra Arya, DCP of south-west Delhi.
Arya said that FIR has been registered and 58 people were arrested. Organisers of the party were booked under the sports gambling act and other IPC sections in Vasant Kunj south police station.
A senior officer told Mail Today that the organisers had planned around six high-profile casino parties in different locations in a run-up for Diwali. They were preparing for running makeshift casinos for the last one month.
Special casino tables and imported alcohol were organised and the venue. Gambling card games are often played in both villages and cities around Diwali, as it is generally considered auspicious to gamble during the festival.
“The basement of the hotel was booked by a man identified as Sajid Khan,a gym owner in south Delhi. His two friends Dinesh alias Bhakti and Jagjeet Singh had organised the casino party. Even in the past, they have a history of organising illegal parties in Delhi and NCR,” Arya said. Most forms of sports gambling are illegal in India, as the Public Gambling Act of 1867 clearly states that the running or visiting a public gaming house is punishable by modest fines or prison terms.
The states of Goa and Sikkim, however, allow casinos on their territories. Most sports gambling in the country, from penny-stake games at street corners and card parties in affluent homes to wagers on cricket and underground numbers games, is illicit and goes untaxed.
“Most of the arrested persons are local industrialists, jewelers and businessmen. They were contacted through a WhatsApp group. Just one day before the party, the organizers had shared the location and venue of the party,” Arya said. Sources say many gamblers were placing their bets through WhatsApp.
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