The Defence Ministry has asked the elite United Services Club, located inside the military premises in South Mumbai, to employ workers with identity proof.

Situated in the heart of Navy Nagar, the Club has one of the three 18-hole golf courses in the city. The Army, Navy and the Air Force jointly run the Club.

The letter was dashed off to the Club after a surprise check was carried out by the Military Police in February. The Military Police found out that 25 contract workers had entered the premises without any valid identification proof. These labourers were hired by the Club for a private function.

“The Club rents out its premises to many private people for various functions. The contract labourers are hired for carrying out the various arrangements for these functions. During a surprise check, we found out that 25 of them were not having valid identification proof on them…” a Defence Ministry source said.

The entry to this “high security” area is only with prior permission and is restricted to civilians. The Military Police frequently undertake surprise checks to ensure that no anti-social elements enter the Naval premises.

The issue was then discussed at a station conference held on February 22. The CO MG&G Provost Unit (Military Police) brought to the notice of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in Chief, Maharashtra, Goa & Gujarat (MG & G) Area Lt Gen P R Shankar that illegal labourers were hired by the club without proper scrutiny.

After the incident, the military police is probing the backgrounds of all the labourers and is also verifying their nationality. “While a few labourers spoke Bengali, we are verifying if they are foreign nationals. The labourers, however, have told us that they are from Bengal or Bihar,” the source added.