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Goa opposition leader appears in illegal gambling probe

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Panaji:  Goa opposition leader Chandrakant Kavlekar on Friday appeared before the Goa Police’s crime branch in connection with an illegal gambling probe.

Kavlekar was summoned by the Crime Branch, after a raid at his residence on Wednesday netted thousands of gambling slips related to matka, a popular illegal lottery  in Goa as well as the Konkan belt.

“I have been cooperating with the Crime Branch enquiry. I have done nothing wrong,” Kavlekar told reporters before his appearance.

Matka is an illegal form of gambling that gained immense popularity in Mumbai and the Konkan region since the 1970s. It functions six days a week like a lottery, where lucky numbers are generated thrice every day.

Matka’s popularity stems from the fact that one can wager a bet of even Re 1. The matka industry in Goa alone is pegged at several thousand crore and several legislators and ministers in successive state governments had demanded that it be made legal.

The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court is currently overseeing the Crime Branch probe into the nexus between the matka gambling lobby, politicians and policemen.

Last week, the Crime Branch had registered an FIR against Kavlekar for his involvement in a disproportionate assets case, in which the Congress leader has been accused of buying land worth Rs 5 crore in Kerala and possessing assets and cash which are disproportionate to his income.

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