With the arrest of two persons, police on Wednesday night busted a casino that was allegedly operating from a shop behind a vegetable market in Pataudi for the past fortnight. A total of Rs 9,600 in cash and items used in roulette, baccarat, and other card games were seized, police maintained.

Police said a dice joint was being run from the 500-square yard plot and at least 30 people were engaged in gambling at the time of the raid, which was conducted on the basis of a tip-off.

The arrested men have been identified by their first names, Irfan, 31, and Taarif, 19. Both of them hail from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh, police said, adding that at least 25 people managed to escape right before the raid.

Maintaining that a case against the two was registered under the Gambling Act at Pataudi police station on Wednesday night, police said gambling is illegal in the state under the Public Gaming Act of 1867. No licence is provided by the state government for running a casino, police said.

Assistant commissioner of police (crime) Shamsher Singh said they received a tip-off that a casino was operating out of a shop for the last few days.

“The casino was run by the arrested men who had bought the tables and other items from Uttar Pradesh. They themselves were hedging bets. We have confiscated the tables and the set-up used by them,” he said.

The plot, where the casino was set up, is owned by a villager who had recently constructed a makeshift room and rented it out to the arrested duo who told him that they wanted to open a shop. The suspects work as daily wagers in the area and knew the owner. The owner, however, was unaware of their plan to start a casino, police said.

“The area looked like the high-stake casinos of Nepal and Goa; poker tables were placed in the area where rollers placed bets using notes between of Rs 10 to Rs 100 denominations,” Singh said, adding that the suspects had worked in small-scale casinos run in Uttar Pradesh for about a year.

Police said there were no entry charge and nearly 30 people visited the shop daily to gamble. The den, which used to open at 5pm, would remain active till 2am, said police.

Police said shopkeepers in the area said they had recently observed an increase in footfall at the shop, but they were not aware of what was happening inside. “They thought people are playing cards. The vacant plot used to remain occupied till late at night, but the shopkeepers raised no objection as no one was bothering them and they never heard loud music or experienced no other nuisance.”

Police said makeshift casinos and high-stake card parties are often organised illegally around the festive season.

“We have formed special teams to keep an eye on gambling and betting operations across the city during the festival season. Anti-social elements engaged in these activities will be under constant surveillance,” deputy commissioner of police (crime) Rajiv Deswal said.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 03:07 IST