It was the mother of all raids, but it soon became one of the biggest embarrassments for the Mumbai police. On the eve of the India-Australia World Cup match, a police inspector stumbled upon a great catch: 23 bookies, including 11 kingpins, holed up in a secret meeting at Hotel Bageecha in Malad. Some of Mumbai’s top betting lords—Shobhan Kalachowky, Kishore Soni, Jagdish Sisodia, Jayanti Malad and Sunil Malad—should have been behind the bars. That, alas, did not happen.
After they were picked up and questioned, instructions for their immediate release came from the top. Sridhar Vagal, the joint police commissioner (crime), reportedly ordered their release. Vagal told a newspaper that he had given the order because "nothing incriminating had been found on them".