The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police in Bangalore busted an illegal mobile casino racket following simultaneous raids on two hotels in Bangalore on Friday night.
The police have arrested 61 persons, including 59 from Gujarat who were brought to Bangalore on a three-nights, two-day gambling package and two local organizers of the racket. The police have found that the money for the gambling racket was being transacted through hawala channels.
The CCB police said 59 persons including a chief organiser Dinesh Shah, hailing from Ahmedabad, Dogapur, Basawada and other places in Gujarat were among those arrested. The two locals arrested in the case are Mohammed Rafiq, a manager of the Arafa Inn Hotel and Shivananda, manager of the Hotel Chetan International located in the Gandhinagar area of central Bangalore.
The police have seized Rs15.36 lakh cash, seventy mobiles, 1977 gambling tokens worth Rs 1.92 crore, ganja packets, whisky bottles and other items in the course of the raids on the two hotels. The gamblers were brought on a special flight for their gambling package tour and had booked out the Chethan International Hotel, Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Hemanth Nimbalkar said following the CCB operations.
The total amount involved in the gambling at both hotels may cross Rs four crores and the tour package was part of a national gambling racket being operated in various cities across India, the police official said. Two persons identified as Prem Kumar of Hotel Arafa Inn and Byregowda of Hotel Chetan International are still at large, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Abhishek Goyal said.
“We have arrested 61 persons including two locals. We learnt that Dinesh Shah is the organiser of the gambling package in Bangalore. We are verifying the profile of the gamblers,” the DCP said.
The CCB police said that preliminary investigations had revealed that Shah was running gambling dens and that he also organised gambling tour packages to different parts of the country including Goa, the Andaman and Nicobar islands and Bangalore. He would collect Rs two lakh as an advance from each gambler and took care of hotel bookings for the Friday evening to Sunday morning stay at the gambling locations. The package involved special flight bookings and airport transfers on luxury buses, police said.
Shah brought all the gamblers to Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport on Friday evening on an Indigo flight. He also supplied all the requirements of the gamblers including liquor, snacks, food, ganja and gambling paraphernalia.
“We want to know the source of the hawala money being transacted by these gamblers,” a senior police officer said.
The arrested persons have been booked under various sections of the Karnataka Police Act, the Karnataka Excise Act and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in a case filed at the Upparpet police station in the old Bangalore city area.