The police raid on Worli-matka (a type of gambling) den in Khadia and subsequent arrest of its kingpin on Tuesday has again brought gambling kings of the city in focus.
Sources in the matka bazaar said Gujarat is the new hub for this 'business' and Dawood gang controls operations. They said the monthly turnover of such operations in the state is well above Rs300 crore.
Source said the Dawood gang had taken control of the lucrative Worli-matka bazaar many years ago.
"Dawood had put his right-hand man Pappu Savla in charge. Mumbai was the hub of the activity then and Ratan and Kalyan groups were key aides of the Dawood gang in the operation," said sources.
"However, after the murder of Suresh Bhagat of Kalyan group in a rare clash with Ratan group, Mumbai police became active and began cracking down on the business," said sources.
According to them, it was then that Savla shifted his hub to Gujarat.
"He chose Indrabandan Ghanchi of Khadia, Ghanshyam Dholio of Dariapur, Chandu Disa and Jago as his local operatives in the state," said sources.
Ghanchi was arrested on Wednesday, a day after police raided his den at his house in Verai Mata ni Pol in Khadia. "Savla had recently thrown a 'high-end' party for his Gujarat operatives in a hotel in Abu. More than Rs16 lakh was blown away as part of the celebrations," said sources.
Sources said that the middle class is particularly interested in this sort of gambling with Maninagar, Khadia, Dariapur, Vatva, Narol and Amraiwadi being the hot spots for the same in the city.
Besides cities like Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot towns like Mehsana, Palanpur, Kadi, Kalol, among others are big market for the Worli-matka, they said.
Sources claim that some politicians and police officials are also involved in this activity, thus creating a nexus of criminals, politicians and police.