Mumbai police responded to reports of gambling at the Sea Princess Hotel along Juhu Beach, resulting in the arrest of 133 people, some of whom are reportedly popular local personalities.
In news outlet Mumbai Live’s account of the incident, the complaint of gambling going on at the five-star hotel was made by a social activist, Musa Shaikh, who posted about it on Twitter.
Of the people reportedly arrested, 63 guests were male, and 52 were female. 18 of the hotel staff were also held for investigation. “[M]ost of them belong to the elite and renowned families in the city. The list includes names of filmmakers, political leaders, businessmen etc,” the Mumbai Live article stated, without providing or confirming identities.
This is the latest of raids associated with celebrations of the Indian holiday Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and is reportedly the largest ever arrest for illegal gambling.
Just last Monday, police arrested about 100 people in the Vishal Enclave of west Delhi’s Rajouri garden, after receiving tips of gambling operations in the area. Confiscated were about $30,000 in cash and about $250,000 in chips. Police interviewed on the matter said that this was a common occurrence during the holiday period, and that many among those arrested were from the “upper-middle class.”
Over the weekend, police arrested 11 people involved in a card game in Siolim, where around $2,400 was confiscated.
A controversial subject in the country, legality of gambling varies on a state-to-state basis. Moves towards liberalization of the gambling market have had setbacks. Poker player Karan Mutha, facing charges for his part in a raided card game two years ago, had filed a petition with the Delhi High Court last year explaining how poker was a game of skill rather than a game of chance, and thus not covered by the Delhi Public Gambling Act of 1955. However, he recently opted to withdraw his petition.