JOAO SOUSA M | NT
Matka gambling continues to thrive in Salcete despite the state government forming a special investigation team to investigate the matter as the police have no statistical data on their operation and depend only on intelligence reports to carry out raids.
A senior official who did not want to be named said, “The police have no data on matka operators as the department has not carried out any survey to map the operation. However, the department has been carrying out raids from time-to-time based on intelligence reports.”
In June a division bench of the High Court of Bombay in Goa, had directed the government to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with an officer of the rank of IPS to probe matka operations after pointing out that the speed of the investigation has been slow.
A petition was filed in 2016, alleging rampant illegal gambling (matka) in the form of organised crime. He also alleged a nexus between police, press (which used to publish matka numbers), and politicians for supporting the gambling.
The police official, said since the department has no statistical data it becomes difficult to crack down, as matka operators have also become smart and found other ways to operate including online.
He said the operators have found smarter ways to outwit the police hence it has become increasingly difficult for the police to act.
As per data available, only 110 cases have been booked since January with Margao police station topping the list with 38 cases while Colva and Fatorda registered 22 and 20 cases respectively while Cuncolim and Maina Curtorim police station managed just 15 cases each.
A random survey by this daily however revealed that matka flourishes in the open within several bookies operating within 100 meters from not only the police stations but also educational institutions, panchayats, and even operating from government premises not only in Margao but also in rural areas.
A random survey also revealed that the total number of bookies operating in Margao alone could well be over 250 while unofficial figures suggest that over 1000 people could be involved with the matka gambling in rural Salcete.
Speaking to reporters social worker Navin Pai Raikar said that organised crime as matka has to be stopped and thorough investigation carried out as matka is not just gambling but could also be involved in other serious crimes as money laundering, funding for terror organisations, prostitution etc.
He said that matka operations have a well organised fund flow and have huge budgets to operate, hence there is a need for more serious investigation by the police in the flourishing matka operations in the state.
Source:: The Navhind Times