Government in crisis, Gamblers eye crores

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Mumbai, Jul 13: The city's famous ''Satta Bazar'' has gained attention of the city police and is under their observation, following reports in a section of the press of bookies indulging in betting on the UPA government's trust vote issue.

According to sources, the famous gambling dens of the city has found a new subject to place their bets on- the survival of the UPA Government at the Centre. The satta bazaar, which accepts bets on anything, ranging from the date of the arrival of rains in the city to cricket matches, is now accepting bets on whether the Central Government will survive the trust vote after the Left Front withdrew its support following differences on the Indo-US nuclear deal, sources said.

Senior Police Inspector R Joshi, attached to Social Services Branch, said that they were acting on reports from papers and no proof of such activities have been discovered by the police.

''If we come across any complaint or find out anything fishy, we would take action, as this is a non-cognizable offence and punishable under the Bombay Police Act,'' Mr Joshi said.

However, police sources have confirmed that last night, few bookies who were involved in the previous cricket bettings, were called at the crime branch CID office, but nothing was found from them therfore they were let off after questioning.

According to satta bazaar figures, the odds are against survival of the government. A person betting a rupee on the fall of the government, will get only 58 paise in return. On the contrary, if the government passes the trust vote, a better stands to get one rupee and 17 paise.

The UPA Government will be seeking a trust vote in the parliament on July 22, and it needs the support of 272 members in the 543-member House to win the trust vote.

According to a bookie, bets worth Rs 250 crore have been accepted in the last three days in Left citadel Kolkata.

Now attention has turned to Mumbai's satta bazaar, where betting is expected to touch an astronomical figure of Rs 2.5-3.0 lakh crore. This is also the first time in the satta bazaar's history that bets are being placed on the survival of the UPA government. In other years, bettings were made on other permutations like which political party in the fray would win.

According to sources, the present running rate in the city is one rupee if the UPA Government manages to win the trust vote with exactly 272 seats. If the government survives, the better will get one rupee and 17 paise. In another scenario, if the government wins the trust vote with 273 seats, then the better will get back one rupee and 32 paise. But, if the government loses by one vote, then the better will get back only 58 paise.

Over a dozen people were arrested from Versova, a western suburb, and Kalbadevi in the city for placing bets on the just-concluded Indian Premier League Twenty20 matches.

UNI

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