In a massive raid in Hyderabad, 36 people were caught by the commissioner’s task force for allegedly gambling at Marriott Hotel in the city on Thursday night.
The police said that Rs 23.37 lakh in cash was seized from the accused, along with two EPOS machines of AXIS Bank mobile phones and liquor bottles.
The police said that the three main accused, identified as Sanjay Kumar; Rakesh Juneja and Rajinder Nagpal Singh, were absconding.
Most of the people arrested were businessmen, and were sent invitations through text messages, to participate in the gambling, during Diwali.
"Three days back they had booked a room on the seventh floor of the star hotel and allowed punters to play the game. They collected about Rs 3,000 from each punter per game. They plotted to gain easy money illegally. They also provided them with liquor, hookah, smoking and other comfort facilities," C Shashidhar Raju, Additional DCP, Task Force, told media persons.
"The organisers were accepting online payment from the participants. For this purpose, they brought two EPOS machines. Preliminary investigation revealed that the machines were brought from a bank by the organisers and we will approach the bank to get more details," he added.
The police said that the organisers bought imported whiskey bottles like Chivas Regal and Black Label, and set up five-star facilities inside the room itself.
Additionally, each participant handed over their cash for plastic coins, which they would then use, to bet on the game.
This was done to avoid cheating and fraud, police said.
"The organisers have a huge network among businessmen who are addicted to playing three-cards and the accused are used to organising such illegal events. We have registered cases against the 36 persons under gaming Act and also Excise Act for possessing large quantities of liquor. We will consider opening history sheets against five organisers for committing offences repeatedly in organising gambling. The organisers have chosen the star hotel to avoid police vigil on their illegal activities,'' TNIE quoted the Additional DCP as saying.
The people arrested were handed over to the Gandhi Nagar police station for further investigation, and a manhunt was launched for the other accused.