he Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday allowed the Gurugram police to resume inspection of the clubs and bars on MG Road, where alleged immoral activities were being carried out. The court had barred the police from taking any coercive action on July 31, after some club owners had approached the HC against revocation of no-objection certificates (NOCS), mandatory for running the clubs, and the repeated raids by the local police.
YOGENDRA KUMAR/HT ARCHIVEFollowing the police crackdown on pubs and bars on MG Road in July this year, the entry of single ■ women had been barred by club owners.On Monday, the court also directed the Gurugram police to submit suggestions by December 20 to ensure that no immoral activities take place on the Mall Mile.
After receiving several complaints from local residents, alleging prostitution and sex rackets on the Mall Mile, the police had conducted a series of raids in June and July on multiple clubs on MG Road. Three criminal cases were registered against three clubs for their alleged involvement in immoral trafficking. Seven people, including two night club owners, were arrested from Sahara and MGF malls for alleged involvement in flesh trade on July 4. Four others, including two night club dancers, were arrested on July 19 from other MG road clubs.
K K Rao, Gurugram police commissioner, had written to district deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh on July 24, stating that the NOC issued to these clubs has been withdrawn with immediate effect. He also recommended that the excise department cancel their licences.
Unhappy with the police action and fearing the closure of their clubs, the owners had approached the high court and managed to get a stay order over the revocation of the NOCS on July 31.
The HC stay on the revocation of NOC is still in place. However, the court has now allowed police to inspect and book a club owner, if illegal activities were being run from there.
“We have formed teams on Monday to check illegal activities in these clubs. We will take strict action against those found involved in prostitution or any other illegal activities,” said Rao.
Viajypal Yadav, president of the MG Road bar owners’ association, said the police cannot take any aggressive action. He said the inspection can be conducted only by police officers of or above the rank of assistant commissioner of police along with the officials of the excise department. “There are CCTV cameras everywhere, we cannot tamper them or get involved in any illegal activities. We have invested crores of rupees. We will fight against the coercive steps by the police even if we have to approach the Supreme Court,” said Yadav.
The club association members alleged that though police had booked some of the club owners, they have failed to prove prostitution and other charges in the court.
Echoing Yadav’s sentiment, Renu Garg, director of the ION club, said, “We will fight against injustice and cannot let police force us to suffer losses.” The club owners alleged that even though there were 327 clubs and bars across the city, the police were only targeting those on MG Road.
“People visiting the clubs on MG road had to submit identity document at entrance of mall and again at the time of entering a club, but this not applicable to people visiting clubs at CyberHub, Sector 29, Golf Course Road and other parts of the city,” said Yadav, adding that they have already informed the court that all mall owners have installed biometric machines on each of the entrances to take identification /signatures for establishing the identity of the visitors.