BJP’s Gujarat MLA Kesarisinh Solanki arrested for gambling

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In a rather startling development, Panchmahal’s district police arrested a BJP MLA and 13 others who were found in a club gambling and enjoying liquor on Thursday evening. 

Based on a tip-off that a gambling and drinking party was on at Jimira Holiday Resort on Shivrajpur Talavadi road, the crime branch decided to raid the place and catch over a dozen people including Solanki gambling and drinking liquor. Apart from the arrested women, four are of Nepali origin, who are being questioned by the police.

Panchmahal’s district superintendent of police Leena Patil confirmed the arrest and informed media persons that a local crime branch team from Pavagadh had raided Jimmy resort situated on the Godhra-Pavagadh Road.

Some 15 people were found gambling in cash and also consuming alcohol according to the police. Identifying the BJP MLA, the DSP confirmed that one of the accused is Kesarisinh Solanki, a BJP MLA from Matar constituency of Kheda district.

While she refrained from revealing more information about the raid and confiscation as the filing of First Information Report (FIR) was still underway. Kesarisinh had appeared in the news previously during Rajya Sabha elections in July 2020, where there were rumours that he might be involved in cross voting to favour Congress candidates.

It remains to be seen what the next development in this case is and whether the cops can provide sufficient evidence in the court of law to prosecute the accused. Several such cases are reported in many states across the country, only for the accused to walk free due to lack of evidence and dated laws that lack teeth.

Last month, two accused in two separate gambling cases were declared not guilty in the absence of proper evidence, by two different courts in Goa under Section 11(2) a of the Goa, Daman & Diu Public Gambling Act 1976.

In the first case a 37-year-old was caught with Rs 530 while indulging gambling activities by means of betting on digits of numerical figures. “In order to prove gambling there has to be an acceptor and bettor. In the present case, the prosecution has chargesheeted only the accused and the better is missing,” a report in the Times of India said quoting the court’s order.

“Thus, there is absolutely no iota of evidence to show that the accused was accepting matka bets and that the articles attached under the panchanama are the articles used for gambling,” stated JMFC Sattari at Valpoi, Girija Govind Gaonkar.

In the second case, a 25-year-old accused was caught with Rs 4495, accepting bets in the form of numerical figures. But the accused has been acquitted because of the absence of a bettor. As per the court, a gambling activity is only possible when one places the bet and another accepts it.

“In the present case, not a single person offering the bets has been arrested or charged by the police. There should be somebody to offer the bets before the other, who accepts them. In the absence of any person who offered the bets, it is difficult to accept that the accused accepted the best,” JMFC Panaji, Sabino A Braganza ruled.

To the prosecution’s argument that the accused was accepting bets in a public place, the court stated that “the non-examination of any independent witness is fatal to the prosecution’s case”.

“Even assuming that the case and the articles were seized from the accused it cannot be directly concluded that the accused was gambling in the public place. There is no evidence that the cash was derived from gambling activity,” the court held.