Police to withhold the no-objection certificate

: The city police will initiate action to cancel the licence of the four-decade-old Madurai United Club where a police raid on Wednesday revealed gambling and unauthorised consumption of liquor were taking place.

The police will withhold the no-objection certificate to the club for violating the conditions laid down for a recreation club, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), R. Thirunavukkarasu, said.

“Gambling is prohibited. Consumption of liquor is not allowed on the club premises by the authorities concerned,” he said.

The Thilagar Thidal police have registered cases against the employees and others who were present at the club during the raid under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act and Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act.

However, all the 41 persons who were arrested were let off on bail by the police.

Among the arrested were three retired police officials, doctors, advocates, retired railway officials, teachers, and engineers, the police said.

And most of them were senior citizens.

“It had been run only as a recreation club until a few months ago. The presence of retired police officials in the club emboldened those who run it to allow gambling and drinking,” Mr. Thirunavukkarasu said.

The cash of Rs.4.15 lakh was huge money for the size of the club, he said. Such a gambling den could not be allowed.

One of the office-bearers of the club is a retired police official, he said. The investigation is on.

Mr. Thirunavukkarasu recalled that a similar raid was conducted in another club a few months back, and added that the police will monitor the activities of all clubs in the city.

The Victoria Edward Hall, which leased out one of its buildings to the club, had issued a warning notice to the Madurai United Club on March 29, 2013 after its members complained of the unlawful activity there, the hall general secretary, I. Ismail, said.

The club had been functioning since 1974, he said.

“Victoria Edward Hall is a 100-year-old organisation working for the uplift of the downtrodden. We never allowed such activity on our premises. When our members complained about the unlawful activities of the club at the general body meeting, we registered our protest with it. We told them that gambling was in violation of the lease agreement,” Dr. Ismail said.

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