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Politicians, policemen named in FIR against matka gambling

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Panaji: The Goa Police Crime Branch has filed an FIR against Goa politicians, police officials, two newspapers and over 1,100 matka gambling bookies and masterminds of a gambling operation based in Gujarat.

The First Information Report (FIR) was filed on the directions of the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday, following a petition filed by activist Kashinath Shetye and four other petitioners.

Shetye had pleaded that police should probe the nexus between police, politicians and the operators of matka gambling, an illegal but popular form of lottery played across Goa.

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

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 crores of rupees.

Over the last few years, several legislators have demanded that matka gambling should be legalised, arguing that it could help the government earn additional revenue.

According to police estimates, the annual turnover of the matka industry in the three states of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat is around Rs.10,000 crore.

The petitioner had also argued that matka was a regular source of extortion for police, who had allowed the gambling to proliferate in the state.

The crime branch has now filed the FIR against a politician named Kiran, unnamed minister, other politicians, two newspapers and police officials, apart from matka operators based in Gujarat, from where the gambling operation is controlled.

The FIR also names a matka operator named Parekh alias Budo from Goa, 1,100 matka bookies and two local newspapers which used to carry results of the matka lottery, which the petitioner claimed was against the law.

The crime branch has been directed by the high court to file a status report on the action taken against the gambling operations every six months.

(IANS)

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Monsoon Road Trips from Mumbai

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel

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Here are some top recommendations for your next best road trip in this season of Monsoon. Pixabay

The floods in Mumbai have been in the news lately, an annual chaos that seems to have become part and parcel of life in the country’s financial capital. However, the monsoons are not a season to dread and just outside the city, as the curious traveller ventures higher into the Western Ghats, there are some picture-perfect destinations for the season. Here are some top recommendations.

Lonavala
Lonavala would be on top of the monsoon destination list for most Mumbaikars. Wrapped in fog, this historic region gains a completely new avatar in the rains as the forested mountain slopes regenerate and the waterfalls come to life. One of these is Kune Falls, which roars amidst a pristine verdant scenery.

The Lohagad Fort has always been one of the most captivating sites on this route and the monsoon mist gives it an allure straight of a medieval-theme video game or movie. A trek to Liones Point is recommended – the season would require special precautions like monsoon-ready footwear and waterproof clothing. While in Lonavala town, a visit to the lake is not a bad idea.

Khandala
Just next to Lonavala, one can reach the quaint hill town of Khandala, perched at close to 2000 feet above sea level. The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make this place an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro, not to mention the splendorous drive on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Some of the popular viewpoints here are the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point. Other attractions here include the Buddhist cave temples at Karla and the calm and placid Bhushi Lake.

khandala
The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make Khandala an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro.

Mahabaleshwar
A jewel tucked in the lap of the mighty Sahyadari Mountains; Mahabaleshwar offers visitors a curious mix of colonial heritage and striking Indian history. Built by Shivaji, Pratapgad Fort has an enigmatic presence in the landscape here, a site of many important events.

Those looking to enjoy some of the high elevations will love a trek to the summit of Wilson Point, famous for its panoramic views of the valley below. The Needle Hole Point is another famous place to catch a glimpse of the scenic landscapes. Venna Lake is another centrepiece attraction at Mahabaleshwar while the hilltop Krishnabai Temple is famous for its architecture and Krishna statue.

More and more travellers are choosing a car rental over public transport. Rates are increasingly affordable and self drive gives total control over the pace of the journey. One can make impromptu stops and detours and there is complete privacy.

Finding a car rental in Mumbai is as simple as a few taps on an app. With platforms like Zoomcar, registered users can book a vehicle in a matter of minutes. One can choose from a wide range of cars – maybe a hatchback or sedan for the family getaway – or maybe a large SUV for the boisterous group road trip. 24/7 on-road support is one of the assurances that self drive rentals offer.

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel.