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29 Mar 2022

Two women have approached the women’s helpline of Bengaluru city police in separate cases, seeking separation from their spouses according to Times of India. According to reports, the husbands were severely addicted to online gambling, impacting their marital lives. While one pledged his property and took loans to play poker and lost Rs 32 lakh, the other stole from the bank he was employed with to support his gambling habits and ended up losing Rs 35 lakh.

In early March, a 24 year old woman, an IT professional with a top company, approached counsellors of Parihar, the family counselling centre of Vanitha Sahayavani which comes under Bengaluru police. “Vanishree has been married for three years now. She came to know very recently that a property which her husband owned was pledged for a high-interest loan and he had also taken many other loans. She realised all the money was used to feed his online gambling addiction,” said a senior counsellor who handled the case was quoted by Times of India.

The man is on the verge of losing his IT job due to his addiction. He took to online gambling for fun with a few thousand rupees and won good returns. “This got him hooked and he wasn’t even interested in a physical relationship with his wife. He lost a sizeable amount in 2020 and in a bid to reclaim the lost sum, he pledged a plot of land he owned and also took loans from many people at exorbitant interest rates. Finally when his wife realised he had lost Rs 32 lakh, she approached police who referred her to us,” the counsellor was quoted in news reports.

Meanwhile, in the second week of March, another woman aged 28, a former IT professional and now a homemaker, approached Parihar with a grievance about her husband’s online gambling addiction. “Her husband was a cashier with a top private bank and he started playing online rummy during the lockdown,” said a senior counsellor. The banker raised loans using several options, including from loan sharks, to sustain his gambling habits which his wife was unaware of till the time the bank suspended him from work for malpractices recently. “He was losing a lot of money online but he kept playing in the belief he will win back more. Finally with the lenders cornering him to repay, he began stealing money from his bank but was caught recently and placed under suspension pending official inquiry,” the counsellor said.

The cashier had lost Rs 35 lakh in online gambling in two years. Loan sharks and her husband’s suspension from work left wife sleepless who was ultimately forced to borrow money from her parents to repay Rs 25 lakh to the bank. But her husband pocketed that money too for playing online card games. She then decided to leave him and approached police.

In a related incident in January, the police have arrested a 40-year-old man who allegedly killed his wife and buried her body inside their house in Karnataka’s Chitradurga district. Cops said the accused, Kariappa R, lost all his earnings due to his gambling habit and had been harassing his wife for dowry. He was absconding for the past few days, they said Sunday after his arrest. The victim Suma (26), a resident of Konanuru village in the district, married Kariappa six years ago and the couple have a five-year-old son. Kariappa works at a provision store. The duo had been fighting for the past six months.

The Karnataka High Court had recently struck down the online gaming ban law as unconstitutional. The petitioners include gaming companies Mobile Premier League, Games24x7, Gameskraft, Head Digital Works Private Ltd, and Junglee Games along with industry bodies like All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS). The case which was initially listed before a single bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit was later transferred to a division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Krishna S Dixit.

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