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Tamil Nadu government to again come out with law banning online gaming

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The Tamil Nadu government will again come out with a proper law banning online games like rummy, said Law Minister S. Regupathy.

In a statement issued here, Reghupathy said public interest is important, by following due procedures and specifying valid reasons, the government will again come out with a law banning online games like rummy.

The Madras High Court on Tuesday struck down the law brought in by the previous AIADMK government banning online gaming in the state. The law also provided for fine and jail term for the violators.

Finding youngsters getting cheated and committing suicide and to protect the innocent citizens, the AIADMK government brought the law by amending the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1930), Chennai City Police Act, 1888 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1988) and Tamil Nadu District Police Act, 1859 (Tamil Nadu Act XXIV of 1859).

According to Reghupathy, the court had said the government did not specify the reasons for banning the online gaming when the law was made.

PMK founder S. Ramadoss urged the Tamil Nadu government to come out with a law by rectifying the defects.

He said thousands of families in Tamil Nadu were happy when the online gaming was banned last year while the Madras High Court order on Tuesday is disappointing.

With attractive advertisements the online gaming companies lure the youth and then push them into debt trap.

Ramadoss said about 25 youth committed suicide during the last couple of years as they were unable to pay back their debts incurred to play the online games.

He said the previous Tamil Nadu government had first brought an ordinance banning the online gaming last November and later made it into a proper law this February.

As a matter of fact, it as was the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in July last year that had suggested to the state government to enact suitable laws to regulate the online gaming industry.

Quashing the first information report (FIR) filed by the Kudankulam police against a school teacher who had watched a game of rummy played in a farm, the court expressed its concern at the unregulated growth of online gaming industry.

Citing the laws against lottery and charging of usurious interest enacted by the Tamil Nadu government the High Court hoped that the state government shall take note of the present alarming situation and pass suitable legislation to regulate and control online gaming through license, keeping in mind the law of the land as well as the judicial precedents in this regard.

“This Court is not against the virtual games, but, the anguish of this Court is that there should be a regulatory body to monitor and regulate the legal gaming activities, be it in the real world or the virtual world,” the court had said.

The court also said the government take the views of the stakeholders before passing a legislation in this regard.

The court also explained the modus operandi of online games.

“If X and Y want to play a game, both of them have to bet a sum of Rs 10/- (Say). The winner will get the amount that he put in place, ie, Rs 10/- and in addition to that, he will get an additional sum, say 75 per cent that was put in place by the opponent, being the prize amount. The balance, ie., 25 per cent, will be credited to the account of the particular online gaming site. The loser will lose everything,” the court said.

“If a group of persons (say 10) wants to play a game, each one of them have to bet a sum of Rs 10/- (say). At the end of the game, the winner will get his amount as well as 100 per cent of his bet amount, being the prize money.

The runner will get his amount as well as 70 per cent of his bet amount, being the prize money. The losers will not only lose the game, but also Rs 10/- that was put in by them.

The court said a rough calculation for the aforesaid scenario will give a whopping sum of Rs 63/- to the online gaming site, while awarding Rs 20/- to the winner and Rs 17/- to the runner. Naturally, a player, if he loses his amount, will try to meet out his loss by playing again and again.

The court cited laws of various states regulating online gaming including that of Telangana Gaming (Amendment) Act 2017 that prohibits all forms of gaming for money, be it games of skill or games of chance.

“In fact, the Government of Telangana has further moved a Bill to amend the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug-Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land-Grabbers Act, 1986, by including “Gaming Offender”, who commits or abets the commission of offences punishable under the Telangana Gaming Act, 1974,” the court had said.

The Tamil Nadu police had also submitted to the court about the absence of laws to take action against online rummy in the state.

Meanwhile, the online Rummy Federation (TORF) and The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) wholeheartedly welcomed the Madras High Court’s verdict.

Terming the judgement as a landmark, both Federations request the state government to regulate this sector to ensure only legitimate, legal operators who follow strict protocols are allowed to operate and a clear distinction drawn from those who try and operate above the law.

They also reiterated their recommendation to set up a joint committee to explore the possibility of setting up a licensing regime to regulate the gaming sector as a whole and the Skill gaming Sector in particular.

Maharashtra

BJP MLA Nitesh Rane asks Maharashtra CM details on ‘monsoon readiness’ plans for Mumbai

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Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nitesh Rane on Monday raised the issue of water-logging that plagues Mumbai during the monsoon and sought to know the monsoon preparedness made by the state government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.

In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nitesh Rane, the son of Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane, alleged that every year, the BMC makes claims of taking remedial measures, but nothing happens in the field.

As a result, many areas in the city are flooded and there are reports of people losing their loved ones due to water-logging, he said in his letter, sent ahead of the upcoming BMC elections.

“Shiv Sena, ruling the BMC for more than two decades now has no solution to offer to Mumbaikars who suffer from water-logging in the city during monsoons every year. You want to change the face of Mumbai by painting and beautification, but you ignore the main issues completely. This time, a good monsoon is forecast so one can imagine what is in store for Mumaikars,” said Nitesh Rane.

He brought to the notice of the CM about 386 ‘danger spots’ in Mumbai which are tagged as flooding-prone, of which the sites fall in south central Mumbai’s Matunga, Wadala, and Sion which create havoc if there is continuous rainfall.

Nitesh Rane said that on an average there are 22 days when Mumbai will experience high tides in the Arabian Sea, and if it simultaneously rains heavily on those days, then the city could face havoc equivalent to the great floods of July 26, 2005 that submerged the country’s commercial capital.

“Besides installing pumps at these flood-prone spots, what else have you done to provide relief to Mumbaikars,” questioned the BJP MLA from Kankavli in Sindhudurg district.

He demanded from Thackeray whether the state and BMC have made any advance preparations to resolve these recurring issues and give permanent solutions, or would Mumbaikars have to again suffer and bear floods.

Meanwhile, a senior civic official said that all pre-monsoon works are proceeding at high speed since April and most of it is near completion, though certain chronic or low-lying areas continue to be at risk of water-logging or floods as in the past.

“Besides, in the past few years, the flooding problem is more noticeable owing to the ongoing work of Mumbai Metro lines at various locations, the upcoming Coastal Road Project in south Mumbai, and certain other road projects, but we are taking full counter-measures,” said the officer, declining to be identified.

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Maharashtra

Congress ‘exposes’ BJP leaders who visited Aurangzeb grave

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With the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and MP-MLA Rana couple hounding the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for action against AIMIM chief Akbaruddin Owaisi’s visit to the Aurangzeb grave in Aurangzeb, the state Congress made a fresh expose here on Monday.

Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant has dug out old photos and videos of several BJP leaders who had visited the burial site of the late Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb at Khuldabad and raised uncomfortable questions.

“The BJP National Executive member and Spokesperson, and Jammu & Kashmir Waqf Board President Dr. Darakshan Andrabi had gone to Aurangzeb’s tomb during the Corona period,” he said.

Similarly, Khalid Qureshi, the Vice-President of BJP’s Minority Affairs also had gone there and in 2019, when current Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis was the BJP CM even AIMIM MP Asasuddin Owaisi went to pay homage there in 2019.

“The tomb is under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). So why can’t the Central government control, restrict or even ban entry to Aurangzeb’s grave?” Sawant demanded.

He wondered why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government doesn’t initiate action against the Owaisis and even the BJP leaders who have gone to Aurangzeb’s final resting place in Khuldabad.

Sawant slammed the BJP, MNS and the Independent MP Navneet Kaur-Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana for blaming the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for the May 12 visit to the grave by Telangana MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi.

Some BJP and MNS activists threatened “to bury” Owaisi in a grave right next to Aurangzeb’s and the Rana couple challenged Maharashtra Chief Minister to take strong action against Owaisi for his trip there which sparked off a major political row.

Shiv Sena MoS Kishore Tiwari and other MVA leaders have dismissed the ‘frivolous demands’ from who they term as the BJP’s Team B, C or D and said they should not divert from more serious issues like runaway inflation, high prices of fuel and gas, rising unemployment, etc and point at the developments in Sri Lanka.

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Maharashtra

80-hour regime: Ajit Pawar, Fadnavis ‘ko gussa kyun aata hai’

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Thirty months after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar suddenly took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively, in the morning of November 23, 2019, that incident continues to haunt and embarrass them.

Despite their best efforts to chase away the ghost of that clandestine swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan that morning, it keeps popping up frequently in the most unexpected ways — this time raked up by none other than Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray himself at his huge rally on May 14.

Replying to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism, Thackeray declared that he allied with the Congress (and NCP) openly, not in an ‘early morning’ oath-taking ceremony of the 80-hour-long two-man regime — and his words pierced the target.

Willy-nilly, the CM also hinted at the ‘real secret’ behind why the Central probe agencies like the CBI, ED, NCB, I-T and the NIA keep hounding only the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party leaders for over two years.

The Shiv Sena President thundered saying if the BJP and MNS do not stop their vicious politics, hounding by the Central agencies, lodging false cases against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government leaders or their families, then “we won’t forgive or spare you”.

“Tomorrow, they will go after Dawood (Ibrahim Kaskar) but if he joins them, he will be made a cabinet minister… If that (2-man govt) ‘experiment’ had succeeded, then people like Anil Dashmukh or Nawab Malik would have been in your good books,” said Thackeray amid applause.

As the MVA government trudges to the mid-way mark in its five year term, BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis continues to cry over the spilt milk, his ‘birth-right’ to power that he was unceremoniously deprived of after the 2019 Assembly elections.

The Ajit Pawar-Fadnavis duo has been lampooned and ridiculed since that indiscretion in Raj Bhavan, sans any trappings, but with the drapes drawn tightly to keep off peeping-toms prying at the political hustle enacted that dawn when the groggy state was engaged in its morning ablutions.

Once, displaying rare courage, Fadnavis confessed that “it should not have happened”, and again hammered Thackeray for ‘backstabbing BJP’ to grab power with the help of the Congress-NCP.

Even the much-pilloried Ajit Pawar, painted as a ‘black sheep’, feebly tried to justify the swearing-in event, saying it was not in the early morning as speculated, but “at 8 a.m.”, though later the NCP hugged him and rewarded him with the same post as Fadnavis did for 80 hours!

Wily Uncle and NCP President Sharad Pawar also never missed an opportunity to take a swipe at the dawn ceremony in his characteristic style.

In late-2020, when Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari published a coffee table book, Pawar wrote to him how everything was there in his coffee table book “except a particular swearing-in ceremony”.

Congress state President Nana Patole also took a potshot saying Ajit Pawar was to “explain” it at an appropriate time, but has nothing till date.

“So much water has flowed under the bridge… We 3 parties are now working together, the government is running well… Why do you keep raising it repeatedly,” an irked Ajit Pawar said of that 80-hour fling, Monday.

There have been heated exchanges inside the Maharashtra legislature and outside with the MVA leaders laughing and leering at that morning venture while livid unrepentant BJP leaders shielding it.

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