Thriving illegal betting (Satta) rackets in Himachal Pradesh are raising concerns among law enforcement agencies as these rackets are being run in collusion with police officials and politicians.
Sources said the illegal ‘satta’ rackets have become a most organised crime in Una district with reports indicating towards the crime also flourishing in other districts as Sirmaur and Solan also.
In Una districts alone, over 80 cases of betting have been registered in the last three months. In October, 24 cases of betting were registered in one day.
“On investigation, it came to light that lakh of rupees (around 10 lakh in a day) are involved in gambling,” Superintendent of Police, Una, Sanjeev Gandhi told The Statesman, adding these rackets are being operated from Delhi.
The accused persons, who were arrested by the police have revealed that earlier they used to transfer money through e-banking but nowadays they are doing in cash as Income Tax authorities are keeping a close watch on huge transactions.
“The betting rackets usually lure farmers, labourers and poor people by promising 90 times more money if they win in the bet in single digit lottery,” sources said, adding, it is resulting in poor losing hard earned money and pushing them into drudgery.
Police sources said there are serious concerns over the use of such money and it is being assumed that the money is being put into illegal drug trade.
The money earned by these rackets might be used for other crimes against society and nation as drug trade and this might lead to flourishing of other illegal activities.
“The role of some Police officials is also under scanner as in the primary investigation, such facts were revealed by the habitual offenders of this crime, arrested over the period of three months,” sources said.
Police officials are now adding provisions of Prevention of corruption Act as there are evidences of involvement of Police officials in this illegal trade of Gambling.
“Action against such guilty cops would be initiated after our investigations in the case are over,” Gandhi said.
The Una Police officials have seized such 10 premises where this illegal activity was going unbridled from quite some time. And now the cops are investigating whether the money have been invested in properties movable as well as immovable and identification of such properties is on.
Una Police is also taking the help of neighbouringRopar Police’s help in curbing menace as these criminals are taking advantage of interstate borders in transporting hard cash. Officials said the racketeers are taking advantage of lax laws against the betting business which is runs into crores of rupees in Una district alone.
The archaic law, Public Gambling Act of 1867 also doesn’t act as deterrent as under the law operating or assisting or visiting a gambling house only attracts a fine, not exceeding 200 rupees or up to three months in prison.