A day after the Delhi Police busted a ‘casino’ set up for Diwali at a south Delhi farmhouse, investigators have learnt that the seized roulette machine, gambling tables, casino token and card decks were procured from a shopping portal. They have learnt that all such casino-related items were procured from China, Hong Kong and Nepal allegedly by Kunal Chandra, the main organiser, who is absconding. Some of the items had symbols of ‘dragons’ on them.
A senior police officer said that they interrogated the four arrested sub-organisers about the source from where they procured the casino equipment who said that Chandra was the one who arranged everything.
“The four initially tried to mislead us saying all the gambling items were purchased from local Delhi markets. When we asked them to take us to those shops, they refused to do so. When interrogated further, they disclosed that the items were purchased online and shipped to India from China, Hong Kong and Nepal,” the officer said.
The four, however, could not provide details of the online shopping sites through which the casino equipment was ordered, saying it was all done by Chandra. “The four are certainly hiding facts from us and blaming Chandra for everything. We will make them say all this in front of Chandra once he is arrested,” the officer said.
Senior police officers claimed they had reasons to believe that the arrested people had organised such casinos in the past as well.
When the south Delhi Police received a tip-off about a gambling den in Sainik Farms area, they had no idea that while raiding the farmhouse they will stumble upon a full-fledged ‘casino’ that was being run professionally.
Apart from 20 gamblers (players) from Delhi and NCR, the police caught 16 dealers, managers, cashier, bartenders, waiters, bouncers, chefs and parking attendants, all trained in operating casinos. Four of them were women, two belonging to Nepal. The police recovered four walkie-talkies that they were using to communicate.
“Two of the four arrested, both brothers, worked at different casinos on Goa. They were hired by Chandra and his associate Harender Kaushik, owner of the farmhouse who is also absconding, for operating the casino. The four were promised a handsome salary, besides commission in the earnings,” said the officer.
The two women from Nepal allegedly were trained casino operators and worked at casinos in Nepal before coming to Delhi. The police are now looking for the contractor for whom the women worked. The organisers had hired the women on contract basis.
‘Outsiders’ were not allowed
The arrested persons, which include four women, were a close knit group to which entry was by invitation only and they relied on word of mouth. To maintain secrecy, the group steered clear of web-based communication and even kept away from secure messaging platforms.
“This gambling ring was limited to friends or friends’ friends. The minimum entry fee was R5 lakh,” said additional DCP (south) Nupur Prasad.
The confirmation about the invites was given at the eleventh hour. The players were given a secret code, which they had to reveal at the entry gate. The attendants at the entry point were given names of the players and registration numbers of the cars. “The cars were allowed in the parking lot only after verification. The bouncers were using walkie-talkies to communicate,” added the officer.
Action and drama in court
While 29 were let off on bail on Sunday from the police station itself, the remaining seven arrested were granted bail by a Delhi court on Monday after they furnished a bail bond of R15,000 each.
Out of 36 arrested, 11 people including four girls were arrested under Gambling Act and Delhi Excise Act under which there is maximum imprisonment of three years. The remaining were arrested under Gambling Act.
The counsel for the accused contested that no gambling racket was being run and all these people were friends, acquaintances and family members. However, the counsel could not establish the claims.