Thailand: Casino organizer Chikoti Praveen deported to India

Published on:

A massive gambling racket bust by the Thailand Police on April 30 led to the arrest of casino organiser Chikoti Praveen, along with Madhav Reddy and Chairman of Medak DCCB Bank Chitti Devender Reddy. In all, 93 people, which included 80 tourists from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were arrested in Pattaya, and now have been deported back to the country on Wednesday, following the cancellation of their visas by the authorities.

The Thailand Police acted on an anonymous tip from Goa, which led to the authorities busting an unprecedented gambling racket at a gambling centre of a luxury hotel in Pattaya city. Among the Indian tourists who were arrested from the spot, Chikoti Praveen, a high-profile casino organiser, was also taken into custody by the authorities.

Chikoti Praveen, who was earlier booked by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from Telangana, was suspected to be the mastermind behind the gambling racket, and was produced before the magistrate, along with the other detained invitees, before being deported back to India. They were granted bail upon furnishing bonds of Thai Baht 4,500 (Rs 10,900 each).

Thai police had seized 25 sets of cards, Rs 20.92 crore worth of gambling chips, four baccarat tables, three blackjack tables, Rs 1.60 lakh, eight CCTV cameras, 92 mobile phones, and three computers. It is believed that the games were live streamed for anonymous financiers who funded the event from India. However, Chikoti Praveen has denied his involvement in organising the event, stating that he was present at the event only as a guest.

“If I was blacklisted, how am I in Goa already? I was invited to the place by Sitranan Kaewlor and Dev, who organised the poker tournament for people across the world. I did ask them for permission, and they also produced a copy of it. I got so many tie-ups with casinos across the world and my event would have been a much bigger one.

I agree that I organised the games in Nepal and other countries and it was all done legally. The organisers have also confessed that I was not involved. I would have been let go the same day by the courts being closed on May day, I left the next day by paying 2,000 Bahts as a penalty. If I had organised it, it would not have been easy for me to leave Thailand,” he was quoted as saying by The Hindu.