Former BJP MLA from Chotila,Bharat Khorani,and eight others were arrested after they were allegedly caught gambling in Lakhanka village of Chotila taluka in Surendranagar district in the wee hours of Sunday. Acting on a tip-off,the Chotila police raided the residence of one Raja Jograjiya of Lakhanka at 1 am and busted the gambling den.
Nine persons,including Khorani,were arrested for gambling while one man managed to escape. All the accused are residents of Lakhanka village, Chotila Police Sub-Inspector Vrijesh Singh Chauhan said.
Police seized Rs 17,885 in cash,nine mobile phones and two motorbikes,collectively valued at Rs 69,380. The nine have been booked under the Public Gambling Act,1867. They were to be produced in a local court in Chotila town later in the evening with police saying they would not seek their custody.
Khorani,a resident of Lakhanka,was the BJP MLA from Chotila Assembly constituency from 2010 to 2012 after he won the bypolls in early 2010. The seat had fallen vacant after his father,Vashram Khorani,the sitting BJP MLA died in late 2009.
However,the BJP did not give Khorani Junior a ticket for December 2012 Assembly polls and instead chose Shamjibhai Chauhan,a Congress rebel who had proved to be the main rival of the BJP candidate in the 2010 bypolls.
Since then,the 32-year-old Koli leader has fallen out of favour of party bosses. He was not assigned any party responsibility in the latest re-structuring of the organisation after the Assembly election snub.
Police,however,said Khorani did not have a criminal background. Incidentally,gambling becomes rampant in many parts of Saurashtra ahead of Bhim Ekadashi festival around this time of the year.