Police in Pune have arrested 31 men for running an illegal horse racing betting racket, with three prominent bookmakers among those detained.
Having received information about the online betting activity, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pankaj Deshmukh and his team carried out raids at different locations across Kondhwa, Wanowrie and Hadapsar.
Police seized cash, six laptops, 31 mobile phones and other gambling equipment, and have filed six cases against those arrested.
The men were operating the betting racket from several different venues, including houses and hotel rooms.
Accepting bets on horse races outside the premises of racecourses is illegal in India, forcing police to invoke provisions of the Gambling Act, the Bombay Racecourse Licensing Act, and Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.
Horse racing has returned to the Royal Western India Turf Club, where stalls are available to place bets, but such stalls are unavailable this year due to COVID-19.
“We found people betting on these horse races shown online,” said Deshmukh. “It is illegal and causes violation of norms and loss of revenue to the government.
“So legal action has been taken against 31 persons, among whom about 12 are either bookies or their associates who were taking bets over the phone and through online platforms.”