Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: South Zone police cracked down on an organised gambling den in old city on the eve of Diwali festival and took into custody 47 persons, mostly businessmen, on charges of gambling. Officials seized Rs.3.67 lakh, the betting money from the place.

Playing cards on the eve of Diwali has been a sort of custom for the businessmen, but what led to the police raid was that the gambling, called playing ‘Taash’ in local parlance, was going on in a most organised way.

The organiser, Sarvar Khan (52) was allegedly collecting Rs.300 per game from each table, an offence under the A.P. Gaming Act. Police said a businessman, who had reportedly lost a crores of rupees in gambling earlier, was also found playing ‘Taash’ when a 20-member police team conducted the raid in a residential locality in Chanchalguda after careful planning. It was an almost easy job for the policemen as the den had only one entrance and the alleged gamblers could not run away. However, the organiser, Sarvar Khan managed to slip the police dragnet.

Police said jewellers, cloth merchants and other businessmen were among the arrested, but refused to identify any of them. Police also seized 39 mobile phones of the gamers. The raid was conducted on a tip off by the Bhavaninagar Inspector G. Someswar Rao.

Mr. Rao said Sarvar Khan had employed Iqbal Hussain, Syed Mahmood and Abdul Gafur to collect the ‘Kitty’ for each game on every table. The agents were also taken into custody.

The gambling was being organised between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Most of those arrested had come to the den to play cards after being told about it by their friends, while some were habitual players.

It was just about four months ago, the Cyberabad police busted a major gambling racket .