City hotelier, 58 Gujarati ‘gambling tourists’ held in Bangalore

The arrest of Gujarati traders, has exposed a much bigger nationwide racket, termed as gambling tourism.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: July 14, 2014 1:40:43 pm

Police said that its part of an interstate high profile gambling racket, in which gamblers from across the country gather at high-end hotels to gamble and party.

Fifty-nine Gujarati businessmen being arrested in a crackdown at two Bangalore hotels by that city’s Crime Branch has led the Ahmedabad police to suspect a much bigger racket operating in the state’s gambling circuit.

The arrested people include an Ahmedabad-based hotel owner, Dinesh Shah alias Dinsha, who is suspected to be the kingpin of a nationwide gambling racket. Dinesh owns three hotels in Ahmedabad and is believed to have connections with noted city gambler Maulik Patel. During the raid at the two hotels — Chetan International and Arafa Inn — the police seized cash, ganja, alcohol, mobiles and vehicles, in all worth Rs 1 crore.

The arrest of so many Gujarati traders, all of whom are into textile and garment business and hailing from Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Anand districts, has exposed a much bigger nationwide racket, revealing what the police termed as “gambling tourism”.

Bangalore police suspect a possible hawala racket running in the gambling circuit of Gujarat that fly to other states like Bangalore and Goa to gamble on weekends to avoid police detection. This new trend of crime has now appeared on the Bangalore police’s radar, which had however been on that of the Ahmedabad crime branch from before.

To get a better grip over the situation, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch has tightened its noose on the arrested gamblers and is trying to zero in on their “network” in Ahmedabad.

According to police, Dinesh would charge a fee of Rs 2 lakh from each gambler to travel and get entertained at these “destinations”. The gamblers got their tickets booked only on weekends and flew out from Gujarat on Saturdays and returned on Mondays.

The modus operandi was that businessmen. who wished to gamble would buy a token from Dinesh and pay him Rs 3 lakh as fees. Dinesh would then arrange the gambling sessions at hotels in cities where he already has a network. The gamblers would keep in touch with their agents back in Gujarat, who would keep depositing money in their accounts for gambling.

The police added that its an interstate high profile gambling racket, in which gamblers from other parts of the country gather at high-end hotels to gamble and party.

The police said also that Dinesh and his friends would call call girls to entertain these traders. However, no girls were found during the raid.

The crime branch in Ahmedabad also suspects that the gambling rackets running in bigger cities like Bangalore, Mumbai or Goa could also be linked to hawala transactions since money worth crores of rupees was being gambled through this network. To get to the bottom of this, police here have begun a parallel search to narrow down on Dinesh’s network in the city.

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