Praveen Chikoti granted bail in Thailand; says it is poker, not gambling
Praveen Chikoti pleaded innocence and dismissed reports of him organising an illegal gambling racket and that he came to Thailand on an invitation for a four-day poker tournament
HYDERABAD: Casino organiser Praveen Chikoti, who was arrested in Pattaya of Thailand during a raid on Monday, was granted conditional bail by a Thailand court on Tuesday. The Thai court also released on bail 82 others – most of them from the two Telugu states – even as Praveen, nicknamed ‘casino king’, pleaded innocence.
All of them including Praveen were arrested during a crackdown by the local police against illegal gambling, rumoured to be running into Rs 100 crores. While granting bail, the Thai local court imposed a fine of Rs 4,500 each on the accused. With all of them paying the fine, the court ordered the release of their passports as well.
Meanwhile, Praveen Chikoti pleaded innocence and dismissed reports of him organising an illegal gambling racket in Pattaya. Speaking to a section of the media, Praveen claimed that he came to Thailand on an invitation for a four-day poker tournament. He named two persons – Dev and Sitha – from whom he claimed to have received the official invite for the poker tournament. He further said that he was not the organiser of the event. He claimed to have been informed that the poker tournament was legal and he was not aware if the poker game was illegal.
Praveen Chikoti also said that the raid took place within 10 minutes of his arrival at the tournament venue and claimed that a ‘wrong propaganda’ was being carried out against him in the media. He asserted that he would eventually prove his innocence in the case.
Praveen Chikoti is known for running a ring of casinos in Goa and a few other places in India. It was also speculated that an anonymous person from Goa tipped off the Thai police about the alleged gambling racket thus resulting in the raid.
Meanwhile, a majority of the 83 Indians arrested in the raid are said to be either the children or close relatives of several prominent people of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.