Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta on Monday said the role of officials from Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) will be probed in a case of online betting on horse races.
During multiple raids at different locations in the city, on December 11 police arrested 31 people, including some bookies and their accomplices, for alleged illegal online betting on horse races at Pune.
Speaking to the media, Gupta said the investigation will probe if any official from the club was involved. “We raided several spots in the city. But raids were successful at six locations. Accordingly, six cases were registered, including three at Wanavdi police station, two at Kondhwa and one at Hadapsar. A team of 10 police officers and 27 probationers conducted the raids,” the police commissioner said.
Police said betting stalls were allowed inside the racecourse. But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no stalls were allowed in the premises at the turf club and it was found that the accused were betting on the races shown on online portals, police added.
Gupta said such online betting was illegal and, hence, action was taken.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 4) Pankaj Deshmukh said the 32 accused were booked for these offences, out of which 31 were arrested and their custody was obtained from the court for further investigation. A case was registered under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Bombay Race Courses Licensing Act and Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act.
In one of the offences lodged at Wanavdi police station, police arrested 70-year-old Shabbir Khambati. In another offence, 20 persons, including one Tanmay Waghmare (29), were arrested. The remaining accused were arrested for other offences.
Police said some of the accused were using mobile phones with SIM cards registered in the name of people for taking bets over phone and through online platforms. Some accused said they were legally appointed bookies, but, according to Deshmukh, they could not produce essential documents before the police.
Inspector Shilpa Chavan of the Crime Branch, who is the investigating officer of this case, said, “As of now, five accused are in police custody and are being investigated, while the remaining were granted bail.”