India: 115 arrested for illegal gambling

Police found 270 gambling centres in Kochi.
Police found 270 gambling centres in Kochi.

Police in Kochi, Kerala, have arrested 115 people for alleged involvement in illegal gambling.

India.- Authorities have arrested 115 people during a series of raids related to alleged illegal gambling activities in Kochi, Kerala.

Despite police warnings and government measures against public gatherings due to Covid-19, officers had detected 270 gambling centres in the area. In a series of raids over three days, officers seized cash worth over Rs 1.25 lakh.

The police said: “Fights at these gambling centres are regular, causing a nuisance to local residents. We urge the public to inform the police of any such illegal activities occurring in their neighbourhood.” 

Police believe that over 200 gambling centres are in operation in the area and that people in the surrounding areas frequent the centres, further exacerbating Covid-19 contagion.

An officer said: “We have come to know that these gambling centres mushroomed after the lockdown. These games are mostly hosted in interior areas which are not easily accessible to the police. 

“The persons running these centres provide all facilities, including food and liquor. In some cases, card game gambling is held at rented houses.”

Delhi police officer in illegal cricket betting operation

New Delhi’s police force has dismissed an officer for being involved in an organised illegal cricket betting operationAmit Kumar was also accused of being associated with criminals and rioters and of organising illegal gambling events.

According to The Indian Express, Kumar was discovered during a fight between two men who were involved in betting operations. One of them was Amit Raghav who was part of a betting racket and was close to Amit Kumar.

Officers discovered that both Raghav and Kumar carried out illegal gambling rackets and collected money from gamblers. Police also suspect Kumar was involved with bar owners who were breaching Covid-19 countermeasures.

An officer stated: “We found that Kumar was actively in touch with all the bar owners and managers in the area. During questioning, he admitted he called them regularly.”

Cricket remains India’s most popular sport. There is a huge underground cricket betting market said to be worth between US$45bn and US$150bn a year. Around 80 per cent of illegal sports betting in India is on Cricket.

However, Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said that he is firmly against the possibility of legalising sports betting in India.

Unlike his predecessor, who had stated that legalising betting would be the most effective means of preventing corruption within the game, Khandwawala believes legal sports betting would encourage match-fixing.

He said: “We can make the rules more strict. We will work on that. It is a matter of great prestige that cricket is largely free of corruption. Credit should go to the BCCI for that.” 

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