Sibal for debate to legalise betting

IPL saga: Rajasthan Royals co-owner Kundra also placed bets

Sibal for debate to legalise betting

Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday called for a wide debate on legalising betting before taking a decision on the matter. “Legalising betting needs to be debated, fixing is illegal and it can never be legalised,” he told a TV channel.

The minister was however apprehensive about betting as those losing money could point a finger at the government.

“If you legalise betting, then people who have lost money will blame the government for legalising betting,” Sibal said. The minister’s statement comes on a day when Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Raj Kundra was alleged to have admitted before the Delhi police that he had placed bets during the IPL matches.

According to Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, Kundra had used his business partner Umesh Goenka for putting bets. Kundra’s wife Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty was also allegedly involved in betting.

Though police seized the passport of Kundra –a British citizen—after ten hours of quizzing on Wednesday, they spared him from arrest despite his admissions of betting.

Betting is recognised as an offence under the Public Gambling Act, 1867, which prescribes a maximum punishment of a few months’ imprisonment and a meagre fine of Rs 200.

Kundra’s admission has, however, raised the larger question of propriety and is a setback to cricket’s governing body the BCCI. Sports Minister Jitendra Singh had earlier spoken for bringing a law to stop betting and fixing. The Centre recently prepared draft legislation to stop dishonest practices like fixing and betting in sports.

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