The city police launched a vigorous drive against illegal dance bars, gambling dens and prostitution racketeers on Saturday evening following directions from Home Minister K.J. George.

Sources in the police confirmed that raids were conducted across the city with a special thrust on areas such as Kalashipalya, Majestic, Gandhinagar as well as parts of the central business district in the city.

According to some estimates, there are at least 50 to 55 live bands in the city and 80 gambling dens. Estimates on the prostitution businesses were, however, hard to come by.

According to sources in the government, the drive was an outcome of a meeting between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Mr. George on Friday. Mr. Siddaramaiah is said to have conveyed to Mr. George the growing public resentment over the city police’s inability to control gambling and prostitution in the city.

Following the meeting, Mr. George summoned City Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji on Saturday and ordered him to impose a comprehensive lockdown in the city on such illegal businesses.

Other cities too

A similar drive will be ordered in other cities such as Mangalore, Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad and Mysore, sources said.

Mr. George is said to have also told Mr. Mirji that police officers enforcing the lockdown should be made aware of the distinction between dance bars/live bands and legitimate businesses such as pubs, discotheques, lounge bars and night clubs. Sources said Mr. George has warned against any harassment of legitimate businesses.

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) conducted a raid on 60 lodges, 30 video parlours and 25 discotheques in different parts of the city on Saturday night.

Tip-off

On a tip-off that betting and gambling activities were being carried out in these establishments, the police raided the lodges and the parlours on K.G. Road, M.G. Road, Brigade Road, Indiranagar, Cottonpet, Koramangala, Gandhinagar, City Market and Majestic areas. However, no arrests were carried out.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Pant said Mr. Mirji had given instructions that checks must be conducted in all the places where betting and gambling activities are being carried out and strict action must be taken against them.

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