Bangalore Turf Club: Racing to halt as turf war renews

Last Updated 24 December 2019, 19:27 IST

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Karnataka legislature has directed the state government to cancel the licence of the Bangalore Turf Club (BTC).

The move comes a month after the committee recommended that all racing activities in the club be terminated from December 2 on the grounds that the club was functioning illegally.

“We have given clear directions to the Principal Secretary, Finance Department, to immediately cancel the licence given to the Turf Club,” former minister HK Patil, who chairs the PAC, said on Tuesday.

“Our government itself had initiated action against the club previously. The department granting renewal of licence is against the Apex Court ruling directing for a status quo in this regard. In spite of this, if licence is being given, it is wrong.”

In November, the PAC had set December 2 as the deadline for the Turf Club to stop functioning.

“However, it was brought to our notice that owing to technical and legal issues, activities have not yet been stopped,” Patil added.

“Based on the PAC directions, the Finance Department secretary discussed it with the additional chief secretary and assured to give a recommendation to the government to suspend licence in the next two days. By Thursday morning, a recommendation will go to the Chief Minister.”

According to the PAC, the BTC owes an estimated Rs 32.86 crore to the government, which is 2% of its turnover as annual rent, between 2010-11 and 2017-18.

With its land lease period having expired in 2009, the BTC has been facing the threat of eviction and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. The top court, in an interim order, had directed for status quo in the matter.

(Published 24 December 2019, 18:40 IST)

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