10 nightclubs on Gurugram’s MG Road face closure over ‘sex trade’ allegations
Residents of the colonies around Gurugram’s MG Road and members of mall association celebrated after state forest and public works department minister Rao Narbir Singh, along with officials of district administration and police, announced the withdrawal of NOCs to 10 of the 15 clubs on the road.Updated: Jul 30, 2018, 12:55 IST
Police in Haryana’s Gurugram on Sunday withdrew the no objection certificates (NOCs) issued to 10 out of 15 nightclubs in MG Road to ensure law and order after residents complained of “sex trade” in the stretch visited by thousands on weekends, an allegation refuted by the bar owners.
Police drew up a list of clubs allegedly involved in prostitution and recommended the state’s excise department to withdraw their licences.
“I have directed my team to take prompt action against anyone indulging in illegal activities. We do not want residents to travel all the way here and decide against visiting a mall...” commissioner of police KK Rao said.
Rao had written to deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh on July 24 informing the administration of his department’s decision to withdraw the NOCs. He also wrote to the excise and taxation department seeking the cancellation of their licences in “public interest”.
“We have sent the file to our headquarters in Panchkula, which grants licences to clubs. Now, it is up to our higher-ups to take the final call,” Sneh Lata Yadav, deputy excise and taxation commissioner (east), said.
These clubs include Prison, Ipsa, Odyssee, Sydney and Ignite in Sahara Mall, Empire, Queen, and Phantom in MGF Metropolitan Mall and King and Ion in JMD Regent Mall.
Residents of the colonies around MG Road and members of mall association celebrated after state forest and public works department minister Rao Narbir Singh, along with officials of district administration and police, announced the withdrawal of NOCs.
“I had promised the residents that I will return their Mall Mile glory and the first hurdle is over. The nightclubs cannot operate without the police NOC and the excise officials have assured that they will support our decision,” Singh said.
“We cannot play with the reputation of the city, which hit the headlines for the wrong reasons over the last few days,” the minister added.
Residents said they were hopeful the Mall Mile glory will be restored after the police crackdown and that there have already been signs of a change over the last one month.
“Residents had stopped visiting these malls for last five years and we had even complained to the CM Window. Prostitutes are solicited at the clubs and they are taken to unauthorised guest houses on MG Road and nearby areas. These guests houses must be closed without further delay,” Rajeev Sinha, former president, residents’ welfare association (RWA), Essel Tower, said.
“A majority of pubs on MG Road Mall Mile had turned into hotbeds of flesh trade and drug peddling, making these establishments a security nightmare for residents visiting them. Withdrawal of licences will ensure law and order and a crime-free ambience for people in the neighbourhood,” Akash Oberoi, vice president, MGF Metropolitan Mall, said.
“Our demand has been met and we now want regular monitoring by the police on the stretch to keep crime at bay,” president of the residents’ welfare association of DLF Phase 2, Umesh Gupta, said.
The residents had held a candlelight vigil on July 22 to show solidarity with the administration for cracking down against alleged prostitution and illegal solicitation in the malls on MG Road.
Club owners and their employees, however, denied the allegations and protested the action against them.
The owners said the department had renewed their licences three months ago for which they paid nearly Rs 4.5 crore as licence fee and that they are paying hefty excise and taxes to the government. They also said that the 1,500 people will lose their jobs.
The protesting owners alleged police visit their clubs regularly and make videos of the premises because of which customers have stopped visiting their establishments.
“There are 15 clubs on MG Road and only 10 have been targeted. This smacks of discrimination. They (the police) should either close all 15 clubs or allow all of them to operate,” the president of MG Road Club Association, Vijaypal Yadav, said.
Seven people, including two nightclub owners, were arrested on July 4 from Sahara Mall and MGF Mall for their alleged involvement in sex trade after a midnight raid. Four more, including two nightclub dancers, were arrested on July 19.