16 detained as video game arcades and lottery shops sheltering hidden online gambling dens raided in Pune

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As many as 16 individuals were detained when the social security cell of the Pune local police conducted a search on three online gambling establishments that were allegedly operating in the Kondhwa neighborhood as lottery and video gaming centers. 12 additional suspects are being sought, according to officials.

The authorities said that they learned about three stores in two adjacent office complexes in Kondhwa that were operating illegal internet gambling activities. And had licenses for the sale of state-approved lottery tickets as well as for video gaming centers.

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Teams from the social security cell, headed by inspector Rajesh Puranik, and a team of trainee police sub-inspectors, who had just joined the city police carried out a raid on the evening of July 23, as business owners, recordkeepers, and other gamblers, were detained.

According to the police, these centers were concealing online gambling operations by covering the storefronts’ entrances with curtains. “Our probe suggests that these racketeers were using various online gambling applications, including that of Matka gambling. Those who came for placing bets on specific numbers were writing their number bets on a plastic sheet and then taking a photo of it before erasing the number. And then the results are taken out using a computer or phone-based gambling application,” an officer, who was a part of the search operation, told The Indian Express.

“Thus there is hardly any evidence or paper trail that is left behind. This illegal operation involves a conspiracy by owners of the dens, bookies, people who run and own these online applications. Because this racket makes extensive use of online applications, we have invoked the Information Technology Act, along with the Maharashtra Prohibition of Gambling Act in addition to Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions pertaining to cheating and criminal conspiracy,” he added.

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A search has been initiated for more individuals who either managed to escape the scene of the raid or were later found to have been involved in the online activity. Action against such betting dens operating in the city under the guise of lottery stores and gaming centers, they claimed, would continue.