An Esplanade magistrate court has sentenced nine persons to six months of simple imprisonment under the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act for gambling at a five-star hotel in Cuffe Parade in Aug 2011.
As per secret information received by ACP Vasant Dhoble, a team from the Social Service Branch comprising three officers of the ACP level, as well as subordinates, had raided a room at Hotel Taj President, Cuffe Parade.
Upon raiding Room No. 602 of the hotel, the police found a few people playing cards while two of them, upon questioning, said that they were running a gaming house. The police also found a notebook containing win and loss points.
The police further seized over Rs. 3.25 lakhs cash and detained seven persons who were businessmen.
The accused had sought leniency as they are first-time offenders. They had sought to be extended the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act. Under this, instead of a sentence, a first-time offender is released on a bond of good behaviour.
Metropolitan Magistrate AV Kulkarni said in the order that considering the nature of the offence and to send a message to society, "I am not convinced to extend the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act."
"It is also a fact that very few numbers of cases reach a conclusion in favour of the prosecution," Magistrate said, further noting that the accused booked a room in a five-star hotel for the purpose of gambling.
The court also noted that a huge amount was recovered from the accused in the year 2011. Considering the background, it said, the court is of the view that six months imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 2,000 will suffice.