Turf Club, Gallops sign truce
Poll seals deal between restaurant and turf authority bringing to a close years of bitter litigation
The members of the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) Ltd, at the Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EOGM) held at the Mahalaxmi racecourse on Thursday evening, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the special resolution endorsing the "terms of settlement" signed between the managing committee of the eminent race club and "Gallops", the famous restaurant on their premises. The club was locked in a legal battle with the restaurant for the past several years. Out of the 705 votes cast, 595 voted in favour (nearly 85 per cent), while 109 voted against, one vote being adjudged invalid.
Run by the BJR, the initials standing for the three partners Bobby, Jasmine & Rahul, the Gallops restaurant management, as per the new agreement, will pay Rs 10 crore to the race club upfront, and also pay another Rs 48 crore over the next 12 years, at the rate of Rs one crore every three months (Rs 4 crore per year).
The race club, is fighting for its survival with its back to the wall after their main lifeline--income from bookmakers--stopped suddenly when the crime branch of city police raided the licenced bookmakers ring at Mahalaxmi racecourse in December last year. The bookmakers, who spent nearly two weeks in custody before being granted bail, have, since then, stopped operating, drying out the chief source of the race club's already scarce cash flow.
The E-voting for the resolution went on for three days, culminating in Instapoll yesterday (Thursday) at the Mahalaxmi racecourse. In the run-up, there was a heated debate among the elite members of the club, with audio clips by prominent club members urging to vote for or against the resolution, listing elaborate reasons. Berjis Minoo Desai, renowned city lawyer and also a member of the club, had released an audio clip urging all members to vote in favour of the resolution, while Milan A Kusumgar, another prominent member, had questioned Desai's wisdom in another audio clip.
"The saga is over," a relieved chairman K N Dhunjibhoy told mid-day after the verdict, "getting the past out of the way is the first step to focus on the present and the future."
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