Palghar Police has busted a horse-cart race and arrested as many as 16 people in connection with the incident.
The accused, police said, were planning to hold the race Saturday morning on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway in Vasai area.
Following a tip-off, a local crime branch team reached the venue and found 14 horses tied to seven carts outside Hotel Welcome around 6.30 am Saturday.
Assistant Inspector Sidhva Jaybhaye of the local crime branch said the race was planned by Moses Mendonsa and Reinald Texeira, who operate horse-carts for tourists at Uttan village in Bhayandar. The men had taken the horses by trucks to the highway and had gathered other labourers and daily-wagers to bet on the outcome of the races, police said.
Inspector Vilas Chaughule of Waliv police station said the accused felt that they could escape detection by organising the race early in the morning. “It would have been understandable had they held the race on flat ground. We do not yet know why they chose to do it on the highway,” he said.
Police are now investigating how much money the men had planned to bet on the race, an offence under the Gambling Act. The 16 men were arrested under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act after the police recovered whips from the horse-carts.
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