A gang war in the city between two factions of Worli Matka operators was foiled in a joint operation conducted by sleuths of the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) and Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Saturday.
The police arrested Vinu Bhagat, the son of erstwhile matka kingpin Kalyan Bhagat. An Uttar Pradesh-based sharpshooter called Ramvir Sharma and his accomplices, Bashir and Sukhvinder Singh, were also arrested and a pistol and eight cartridges recovered from them.
According to the police, Vinu had decided to eliminate Ghanshyam Patel alias Dholiyo who owes allegiance to the Ratan Khatri faction. Police said Vinu wanted to expand the matka business in the city and decided to bump off Patel after the latter refused to strike a deal with him.
Vinu had promised to pay Ramvir Rs10 lakh for the killing. Sharma and his accomplices were arrested near Sal Hospital where Patel owns a shop. “We have foiled a potentially big gang war in the city between matka operators of the Kalyan Bhagat and Ratan Khatri factions,” said Himanshu Shukla, deputy commissioner of police (DCB). Shukla said Vinu was arrested following interrogation of the three accused.
Kalyan and Khatri are erstwhile matka kingpins. Called the original matka king of the country, Khatri ruled the illegal gambling business from the 1960s to the mid-1990s. Though he is not actively involved anymore, his aides are said to conduct the gambling business. Vinu has taken over Bhagat’s operations after his brother Suresh was eliminated in Mumbai in 2008.
DIG Manoj Shashidharan of the ATS said they were tipped off about a likely gang war as Sharma and his men had surveyed the place where they were to eliminate Patel. Meanwhile, sources peg the matka business in the state at Rs300 crore daily.