Betting racket busted, NCP leader held in Pune

first_imgThe city police on Wednesday arrested five persons, including a leader from the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), for operating a betting racket in Pune’s Nigdi area.Javed Shaikh, a NCP corporator from Akurdi, was among the few in his party to withstand the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) juggernaut which swept the cash-rich Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) in the civic polls held in February this year.Betting on TNPL matchesAccording to the Nigdi police, Mr. Shaikh (47), along with Navin Mittal (43), Rakesh Mehta (37), Pravin Pawar (36) and Zakir Shaikh (29) were said to have been running a betting operation from a building in Chikhali, betting on matches in the ongoing Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL).In a morning raid, the police retrieved betting articles amounting to Rs. 2.77 lakh including Rs. 53,000 in cash.“Acting on a tip-off, we raided a flat in Mittal Building in Chikhali and seized a number of betting paraphernalia including mobile phones, a laptop, a betting register used by the accused during the course of their operation. We have booked them under relevant sections of the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887,” said senior police inspector Vijakumar Palsule, remarking that further investigations were on to ascertain the scope of the racket.Arrested in 2009 for extortionThis is not the first time that the NCP leader has courted trouble. Mr. Shaikh, known as a party strongman in the PCMC area, was arrested in 2009 by the Nigdi police in an extortion case.He weathered the BJP storm this year to be elected for the third consecutive time from the Akurdi panel, defeating the Shiv Sena’s Maruti Bhapkar (once a prominent Aam Aadmi Party leader) by a formidable margin.The BJP won a landslide in the Pune civic polls, snaring 77 of the 128 seats to break the NCP’s long domination of the PCMC with Mr. Shaikh being one among only 35 corporators from his party to get a mandate.last_img

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