Kerala: High-stakes gambling racket under scanner after bettors clash

Police say in some games, amounts as high as Rs 5 lakh are placed as bets; the scuffle took place at a high-end hotel at Thykoodam near Vyttila on Monday.
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KOCHI: The Maradu police, who are investigating the clash between bettors at a hotel in Kochi, have launched a separate probe into a major gambling racket in which lakhs of rupees are placed as bets.

The assault, which took place at a high-end hotel at Thykoodam near Vyttila on Monday, came to light after Kothamangalam native Joby Baby approached the police alleging he was beaten up by Maradu native Ansar and four others during a card game. The police, who arrested all five persons involved on Tuesday, got information about the high-stakes gambling.

“A group was organising the playing card games in rooms of various high-end hotels in Kochi to evade police attention. People from across Kerala came to the games. In some games, amounts as high as Rs 5 lakh were placed as bet. We have launched attempts to nab the main organisers,” said an officer. As per Joby’s complaint, Ansar and six others had attended a gambling session held in a hotel room on Sunday and he ended up losing over Rs 1.5 lakh.

The police, quoting Joby’s complaint, said the next day, Ansar came to the place with four of his friends, while a gambling session was going on.

“They were carrying sticks. A clash ensued, and Ansar and the group assaulted four persons, including Joby. He then snatched gold chains and gold rings weighing a total of 11.5 sovereigns, Rs 2.16 lakh in cash from bettors Josil, Jayraj, Rajesh, Naushad and others, as well as four mobile phones from Joby and his friends. Before they left, the group also warned the others against going to the police with a complaint,” said an officer.

“At present, we have book Ansar and his friends for assault. Based on the probe against the organisers of the playing card games, a separate case under the Public Gambling Act will be registered,” said the officer.

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Police bust gambling racket at Kalamassery, seven arrested

Incidents of high-stakes gambling are not uncommon in Kochi. In March, the police had raided a hotel in Kalamassery, and arrested seven persons engaged in gambling and also seized over Rs 2 lakhs that they had placed as bet.

While organisers of such gambling sessions used to rent homes in remote rural areas to conduct the games, they moved to hotels following a police crackdown.

Gambling at hotels to evade cops’ attention

  • Playing card games organised in rooms of several high-end hotels in Kochi

  • Officials say this kind of networking was intended to evade police attention

  • People from all parts of Kerala came to participate in these games, some placed bets as high as Rs 5 lakh

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The New Indian Express