Cops bust gambling den in Pune, 36 booked

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The crime branch of Pune raided an illegal gambling shelter on Saturday in the Om Shanti Apartments building’s parking lot in Mangalwar Peth. The Social Security Cell (SSC) has been cracking down on illegal dens, with their raids increasing drastically in the last few days.

The officials seized cash amounting to ₹6.80 lakh during the raid and booked 36 people under sections of The Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act 1887. Bhimashankar alias Appa Irappa Kumbhar (68) was identified as the den operator, and the man from Nana Peth was arrested by the police while an investigation to arrest five of his accomplices is underway.

The SSC has been active in the last few days in its objective of raiding illegal gambling establishments to reduce the crime rate in the city. A few days ago, the officials of SSC arrested 12 people for gambling in the Parvati darshan area of the city. The police seized materials worth over ₹2 lakh.

The officials are aware of the new gambling methods that are taking place via video games and mobile games, which have become a trend among the youths of the area. A senior policeman revealed that the end of the pandemic has seen a rise in gambling activity. The accused individuals and gamblers return after being arrested as gambling is a bailable offense, and they indulge in the same illegal activities again.

“The pandemic had affected the activity due to lockdown. However, as all areas are open now, the gambling activity has begun again.” The social security cell has reported 18-20 cases in the last three months. Although various locations have been raided multiple times, the gamblers return as it is a bailable offense,” a deputy commissioner of police said after the raid a few days ago, as quoted by the Hindustan Times.

Sometimes, even school children get involved in this’: Vikas Kuchekar on the rising gambling issue in Pune

Activist Vikas Kuchekar, president of Human Rights Protection and Awareness also spoke on the issue of gambling in the city as it affects not only the families of the gamblers but also the people living around the gambling spots. Kuchekar had filed a right to information (RTI) application on gambling issues in the city of Pune in 2018.

“Gambling is widespread throughout the city. The gamblers’ families have to face financial crises. Sometimes, even school children get involved in this. The people who live in houses around the gambling spots are threatened and abused by these people. The fear makes them hesitant to even complain against them,” said Kuchekar.