Pune Rural Police have arrested five Gujarat businessmen, including one who works as a bookmaker, in a raid on a bungalow in Lonavala, where bets were taken in the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between India and England and was also run. Gambling den.
After Assistant Inspector Netaji Gandhari received a tip about a betting racket being operated from a bungalow near Lonavala, the Pune Rural Police’s (LCB) Local Crime Branch on July 17th collected information that revealed several people were involved in online betting. The third and final ODI match between India and England at Old Trafford.
In a coordinated action by the LCB team, a raid was carried out on a bungalow located in Apti Village in Lonavala on the night of 17 July. Police arrested five people and confiscated the suspects’ laptops, cell phones and money. A preliminary investigation indicated that Ajay Natwarlal Mithia (47), who hails from Rajkot in Gujarat and is a trader of synthetic jewellery, was betting the match online.
The police also arrested four other businessmen who were involved in gambling based on “teen patti” card games. The police identified them as Ravi Rasikbhai Rajani, Nippon Devaibhai Patel, Jinesh Janeshbhai Ramani and Mitesh Rameshbhai Sinju, all of whom are residents of Rajkot in Gujarat.
Police invoked the Gambling Prevention Act and India’s Telegraph Act against the arrested suspects along with sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to fraud and criminal conspiracy. The media published details of the arrests on Tuesday evening, after the initial investigation was completed. The arrested suspects were held in police custody for three days.
A senior police officer said investigation into previous betting and gambling cases caught in Lonavala and surrounding areas had revealed that most of the suspects involved in the case were businessmen from Mumbai and Gujarat. “Most of these people have other businesses. They choose to work from hotels, rented cottages and resorts in hill stations in and around Pune and Mumbai where they can go as tourists,” the officer said.
In one of the biggest actions in the recent past, Pembe Rural Police arrested 72 people, including 60 businessmen from Gujarat, in a raid on a gambling pit operated from a resort in Lonavala in September 2020. In April of this year, Pembri Chinchwad police raided a betting racket running from an apartment in Kaliwadi district where bets were taken on IPL cricket matches.