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BTC officials charged in unprecedented scandal

  May 31 , 2024
   

In an unprecedented event in the history of Indian racing, the Chairman of the Bangalore Turf Club, Aravinda Raghavan, its Secretary, M. K. Kiran, and betting ring supervisor, Vijay Narasimha, have been charge-sheeted by the Central Crime Branch (SE) along with 87 others. The charges are under Sections 406, 409, 420, 120B read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 78(1)(a), (I), and 78(2) of the Karnataka Police Act 1963.

The charge sheet indicates that accused numbers 1 to 27 are on anticipatory bail, 28 to 84, 86, and 88 are on station bail, while accused numbers 85, and 89 to 91 have not been arrested. Vijay Narasimha is identified as A89, M. K. Kiran as A90, and Aravinda Raghavan as A91.

Following the police charge sheet, the Bangalore Turf Club has revoked the licenses of the involved bookmakers. However, the Club has remained silent on whether the Secretary and Chairman, also named in the charge sheet, will be asked to resign despite the severity of the charges. By cutting ties with the accused bookmakers and their associates to strengthen its position, the Club has put itself in a precarious situation, seemingly ignoring its significant involvement and thus jeopardizing its chances.

In a previous incident involving the Queen Latifa case, the BTC Board, which included government nominees, requested the resignation of the then Chief Stipendiary Steward, Pradyumna Singh, following a CID charge sheet.

The charges include accusations of Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) officials` involvement in illegal betting and assisting bookmakers in evading taxes owed to the government. Despite being aware of the illegal betting activities, the BTC Administrative Board has taken no action, effectively colluding with licensed bookmakers and permitting the continuation of illegal betting.

The police obtained a search warrant to investigate the BTC administrative office and other premises. Rs 3,45,74,040 was seized from various stalls during the raid, with accounts not properly maintained. Prima facie, the police believe there is collusion among BTC officials.

The I ACMM, in his order, noted that after reviewing the complaint, mahazar statement, and witness testimonies, there is sufficient material to take cognizance under various sections of the Karnataka Police Act 1963. Consequently, a case has been registered against Accused Nos. 1 to 91 in Register No. III. Summons have been issued to all accused, and the case is scheduled for further orders on June 10, 2024.

The charge sheet highlights the absence of essential documents related to betting, including tax invoices, tax invoice registers, and account books. Betting cards were not legally obtained, and the betting records were kept in a manner only understood by the bookmakers with significantly understated amounts. The GST paid was only a fraction of the amount collected, and no 30 per cent TDS was collected. No records were produced during the raids.

The charge sheets expose numerous serious discrepancies and explicitly allege collusion by BTC officials. The chargesheet highlights the fact that the bookmakers show lesser income than the amount they pay to run their stalls!

A total of approximately 50 police officers were involved in the operation at the BTC premises, and statements from about 60 witnesses were taken. The bookmakers appealed to the High Court of Karnataka to quash the CCB`s actions, questioning their authority to handle GST-related matters. However, the High Court dismissed the petition, stating that the charges prima facie appears very grave and granted the police the authority to proceed.

Following these raids, the Government of Karnataka has suspended the license given to the Bangalore Turf Club to conduct its activities since April 1. The BTC approached the High Court for relief and the matter is to come on June 6. The Court has directed the government to come up with its reply about giving license to the club. The Bangalore Summer Season has been considerably delayed and the stakeholders have been put to much hardship by the shenanigans of the mandarins of the BTC.

When someone approaches the court, they should do so with clean hands. Given that the petitioner, the Secretary of the Club, and the Chairman are facing serious charges, is the court informed of this fact? Especially in cases involving equity, the court typically requires disclosure of all relevant facts, including any charges or accusations against the petitioner. This ensures the court has a complete understanding of the situation and can make a fair decision.

The BTC has left many crucial questions hanging in the courtroom.

 
 
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Total Comments : 8
Posted by Jagadish B on ( May 31 , 2024 )
I reiterate once again to hand over the race course to Mr.Poonawalla. He will do the needful.
 
Posted by VISWANATHAN T.S on ( May 31 , 2024 )
Punters depend on the Bookies for betting largely because of the present GST slab on Horse Racing. Totes hardly pay anything substantial to serious betters leave alone small punters. Therefore GST is the culprit that triggers all these so called malpractices.
 
Posted by Kishore on ( May 31 , 2024 )
The Chairman Aravind Raghavan should be asked to resign as he has been charge-sheeted by the Police under some serious sections in the law. He has no moral right to continue in power. Unfortunately like his namesake Aravind Kejriwal, this Aravind Raghavan also refuses to quit. It is a pity that the club members can`t force him to stop. BTC has reached the lowest point of its existence.
 
Posted by Vijay Krishna 005 on ( June 1 , 2024 )
High GST rates are to be blamed for the current crisis. Tax evasion.
Add another ambiguity, that is section 194BB of IT Act amendment.
This will lead to more tax evasion from Punter`s side..
the other crisis, especially after Corona era, is the In and Out running of horses (Editor Sharan ji has covered this aspect thoroughly).
 
Posted by V.K.Sharma on ( June 4 , 2024 )
Sharan Saheb, Congratulations! In directly your initiative finally has given the results.The operation is successful but the patient now needs rehabilitation which seems to be another problem without a solution.
The human mind is a powerful transmitter sending out goodwishes and curses and in this case the mandarins of BTC are targetted with CURSES from the people affected including horses and rail-birds. No amount of prayers and good wishes from the book-makers can nullify the effect of
the curses.
Even God will not help them.
Regards,and thanks for whatever you have done as a fire-brand journalist.

(Rail-bird)



gards and thanks for whatever you have done as a fire-brand journalist.
 
Posted by Murali on ( June 6 , 2024 )
Sir this is request fin behalf small punters on regarding entrance fees they are collecting on cource 300 hundred rupees for first` enclosure and150 for 2nd enclosure. On-off course. 200 and 100 rupees btc is looting to enter course We have to pay exrabrunt money. Small punters can`t afford this loot. No one is concerned please some ane bring this to notice ingoof platform try to reduce nominal entrence fees
 
Posted by speedo on ( May 31 , 2024 )
I SECOND YOUR THOUGHT ABSOLUTELY MR.JAGADISH
 
Posted by Siva Shanker on ( May 31 , 2024 )
It`s time the looters be brought to be booked, and ensure fairness in all areas of this Royal Sport
 
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