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By Ikram Khan | 07 Dec 2019 | BANGALORE

No bookmakers operating after the second race on Friday and again on the inter-venue betting on Kolkata and Chennai races on Saturday following the Central Crime Branch (CCB) raid on the bookies at the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC)  has dampened the spirits of the punters who are left with no option but to make their investments at the tote and taking into acccount that the tote dividends compare poorly with what the bookies offer, most big punters have quickly established contacts with the bookies at Chennai, Pune and Mumbai while the small investors are running pillar to post locating the many small illegal bookies who are boldly doing `Dhanda' from the premises of the club. The illegal bookie menace has hit the club hard though it must be mentioned that the managing committee of the Club has done nothing to stop and prevent the illegal bookies from gaining control. The mandarins of the club have time and again pointed out that they have filed many complaints with the police and that it is the job of the police to eradicate the mess. The police in turn have pointed out that it is the duty of the conductors of the game to rope in men and machinery to identify and book the culprits. The onus is on the club to provide a clean atmosphere and they need to employ security force to check the menace. 

Well on Friday, the CCB squad seized 96 lakh of unaccounted cash from the bookmakers stalls following a complaint that the bookies were allegedly evading taxes and that the men employed by the club,despite being in the know was freely allowing the evasion of taxes which suited both the bookies and the punters.. 

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil revealed that 40 bookies including partners and staff members in the stalls had been deitained and were being questioned about their modus operandi. The top cop disclosed that the bookies receive big bets on each race, but showed only a small amount in the betting registers thereby evading the 28 percent GST and cheating the state government and Centre. Sandeep Patil also disclosed that the police have informed the tax department about the raid conducted and are investigating further to find out the related malpractices at the club. 

Patil also informed the media that the surprise raid was conducted after the police received many complaints about the alleged tax evasion and that the punters had gone on a rampage on the opening day of the winter season after three jockeys were dislodged in the opening event and one horse was euthanized. One official pointed out that after the horrific incident many punters who lost out complained that the managing committee in its effort to provide a shield and protect a couple of men in-charge of the track had sacrificed the poor punters at the alter of convenience, not willing to hold an enquiry and readily hoisting the white cone. It is also learnt that the police are in the know that doping is also prevalent in the campus and soon they will crack down on the offenders. It is clear that the intention of the police is to clean the image of the sport and to prevent the small punters from being cheated. Will that happen in a century old sport which has so far failed to shed the mug's game tag? Well your guess is as good as mine. '