Probe ordered on Goa Police-matka lobby nexus

Panaji, Sep 2 (IANS) The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Goa crime branch to probe the alleged nexus between the state police and the matka gambling lobby.

The direction followed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Kashinath Shetye, who had attached along with his PIL evidence of matka gambling in various parts of the state including capital Panaji.

Matka is an illegal form of gambling that has gained immense popularity in Mumbai and Konkan region since the 1970s. It functions six days a week, virtually like a lottery, where lucky numbers are generated twice every day.

Matka’s popularity stems from the fact that one can wager a bet of even Re.1. The matka industry in Goa alone is pegged at several thousand crores of rupees.

Over the last few years, several legislators have demanded that matka gambling should be legalised, arguing that it could help the government earn additional revenue.

Petitioner Shetye had argued that matka was a regular source of extortion for police, who had allowed the gambling to proliferate.

The crime branch, which has now been tasked with cracking down on matka, has been directed by the high court to file a status report on the action taken against the gambling operations every six months.

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