RATAN KHATRI Ratan Khatri is consideredby many to be the pioneer of the gambling/betting movement in India. Khatri, who hails from a Sindhi family, started from humble beginnings and like most Hindu Sindhis living in India, he came to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan when he was a teenager during the 1947 partition. He is credited as the person who transformed Matka (a form of gambling in India that originated in Mumbai in 1962)into India's biggest betting racket and established a nation-wide gambling networkthat lasted for decades under his control until he retired and decided to relinquish his position. Another key personality in the business during the time matka originated was"Kalyanji Bhagat." Bhagat is known to have actually initiated the earliest forms of this gambling which was further popularized by Khatri. The Matka craze in Bombay in the 1970s and 1980s and also continued into the 90s until the police cracked down on it. Khatri is known as the kingpin of the Matka racket - and the public and media referred to him as the Matka King . The characterof Premnath who enacted the title role in Bollywood filmmaker Feroz Khan 's film Dharmatma (the first Indian adaptation of the film The Godfather ) was inspired fromand loosely based on Ratan Khatri. Just as in the film, Ratan Khatri was known to come to the aid of all people. His beneficiaries included friends from the film industry and corporate world and distant relatives who neededany support or financial assistance. Although Khatri has long retired and does not operate the matka business any more, a numberof bookies continue to falselyoperate under his name of Ratan Matka. This is probablybecause Khatri was known tobe the most high-profile, honest and reputable player in this business that had astounding odds. Khatri madeit customary to ask any member of the public to pull out the three cards on the dot of the appointed hours. Each pack was used only once and discarded. The three pulled out cards would remain with him after he scratched the printed side with his finger nails as proof.(Citation- Mid-Day February 18, 2008 article referenced below - "Khatri’s betting wasconsidered more genuine as the cards were reportedly opened in the presence of patrons." ) Due to his ties with prominentbusinesspersons as well as illustrious personalities from Bombay's film industry, many of whom were ardent Matka players, Khatri is also said tohave also ventured into Bollywood financing for some time. One of the films produced by Khatri is RangilaRatan which he co- produced with Ramchandra Bhikubhai. His association with films did not end there as his two sons continued to operate in the film business and also own a film theatre"


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