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Kavlekar pleads ignorance of matka gambling at residence

Panaji: Opposition leader and Quepem MLA Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavlekar has pleaded ignorance of the matka gambling activities conducted from an office situated in the property, where his residence is also located, at Betul in South Goa.However, the crime branch, which is probing the matka gambling nexus, looks at Kavlekar as a suspect in the case.Kavlekar, who had been called for questioning by the police on Friday, had approached the sessions court, South Goa, seeking anticipatory bail.The principal district and sessions judge, South Goa, on Friday granted interim anticipatory bail to him and posted the matter for arguments on September 25 at 2.30 pm.The crime branch questioned Kavlekar for over an hour in connection with the recovery of thousands of matka betting slips from the office.
Sources said the Opposition leader has pleaded ignorance of the illegal activities and has reportedly told the police that the property in question was being looked after by his brother.“We have recorded his statements and if need arises he will be called again for questioning,” crime branch officials said.Quepem MLA’s brother Babal Kavlekar has been called for questioning on Monday.“The matter is being examined. We will come to a conclusion only after all evidence in this regard are gathered. But prime facie it is very clear that the particular premise is within the residential compound (where Kavlekar’s house is located), which was being operated as an office for this illegitimate trade (matka gambling activities),” crime branch SP Karthik Kashyap said.Replying to questions from media persons outside the crime branch office, Ribandar, Kavlekar claimed, “I have done nothing wrong, and I have full faith in the judiciary.”Last week, the anti-corruption branch had booked the Opposition leader in a disproportionate assets case. The ACB had conducted raids at three different locations including the office where sleuths unearthed thousands of matka slips and books.The matter was referred to the crime branch.In October 2015, the crime branch had registered a first information report against politicians, an unnamed minister, police officers, matka operators from Gujarat and agents from Goa under the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act and other charges. [NT]

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