Five Thane trusts running gambling dens busted

Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 07:58 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

Thane police writes to the state charity commissioner demanding action against 'social clubs' meant to promote cultural and sports activities

People seen gambling at Royal Mitra Mandal club in Thane in the sting  conducted by activist Manohar Jariyal
People seen gambling at Royal Mitra Mandal club in Thane in the sting conducted by activist Manohar Jariyal

Five clubs from Thane, registered with the government as trusts, are under the scanner for allegedly turning their premises into gambling dens. Thane police have written to the state charity commissioner demanding action against these clubs for flouting entertainment norms.

"An FIR has been registered against these clubs under the Gambling Act. The police have demanded action from the charity commissioner against erring people and the trusts for flouting norms," mentions Thane Nagar police's letter.

The move comes close on the heels of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activists in the High Court. In 2018, activist Manohar Jariyal conducted a sting operation and recorded several activities such as cards and other games being played in the clubs and big amounts of cash being exchanged for the same.

Jariyal claimed that despite his evidence, which shows that clubs allowed by the charity commissioner to conduct recreational activities have been turned into illegal betting dens, there was no police action. With no response from the law-enforcing agency and the erring clubs continuing their business, the activists approached the court.

"The charity commissioner has given them approvals for skilled sports. But when we raided the clubs, some were found to be indulging in gambling activities. Police action has been initiated. We have asked the concerned authorities to take further action against the erring people and their trust/club," said R M Somvanshi, Senior Police Inspector of Thane Nagar police station.

Jariyal pointed out that the police have swung into action only after the learned about the PIL. "I have information that despite police action, many of the clubs are still doing business as usual," claimed Jariyal. Police refuted his claims saying they have been taking relevant action.

Advocate Rahul Arote, representing Jariyal, said that the police and charity commissioner's office should regularly conduct joint surprise visits. "The clubs have been granted permission under the Society Registration Act so that they can provide entertainment to citizens through cultural, social and sporting activities. Gambling dens are a danger to the society," Arote said.

Clubs named by cops

Some of the clubs named by police in their letter to the Charity Commissioner:

. Royal Mitra Mandal social club
. Ekvira Mitra Mandal social club
. Indian Recreation Trust social club
. Sai Moreshwar Charitable Trust social club

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