In an unexpected turn of events, a sub-inspector from the Pimpri Chinchwad police department faced suspension after winning a significant sum on a fantasy sports gaming platform. But what led to this decision, and what does it mean for the broader context of online gaming in India?
The Big Win and the Controversy
Sub-inspector Somnath Zende recently made headlines by winning a whopping Rs1.5 crore on a fantasy sports gaming platform. However, the celebration was short-lived as he was placed under suspension soon after. The reason? Participating in the game without prior permission and addressing the media in his police uniform post his win, actions deemed to have tarnished the police department’s image.
Zende, in his defense, stated that many of his colleagues also engage in fantasy sports games. He felt targeted because he was the only one who managed to secure such a significant win. He further emphasized that online gaming is legal in India, pointing out that a tax of Rs45 lakh was already deducted from his prize money. Zende expressed his frustration over the need for permission for personal activities, drawing parallels to mundane tasks like visiting a gym.
The Broader Context
Online gaming has been a topic of debate in India. In July, state home minister and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanavis clarified that online gaming platforms operate legally and fall under the 28% GST bracket. However, the controversy surrounding Zende’s win and subsequent suspension has reignited discussions on the ethics and implications of police officers participating in such platforms.
What Lies Ahead for Zende?
Following the media coverage and public criticism, an inquiry was initiated against Zende. The outcome of this inquiry led to his suspension. A more detailed departmental inquiry is now underway, with Deputy commissioner of police Bapu Bangar at the helm. Zende will have an opportunity to present his side of the story, and the final decision will be based on the inquiry’s findings.