Goa casino operators distance themselves from tainted executive


Panaji : Both offshore and onshore casino operators in Goa have distanced themselves from the vice president of Mint casino, who was booked under the Immoral Trafficking Prevention (ITP) act, officials said.

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Mint casino vice president Sanjay Kaushik was arrested after he was caught with a prostitute by the Crime Branch in a raid at a city hotel Friday morning.

In a joint statement issued here by the Association of Offshore Casinos (AOC) and the Casino Association of Goa (CAG) Kaushik was denounced for “engaging in an act which was illegal in nature and which had the potential to bring disrepute to the entire industry. Indulging in an immoral/criminal activity of any nature is considered a serious and grave issue”.

Narinder Punj, managing director of Goa’s largest offshore casino, the Casino Royale and spokesperson for both the associations clarified that, “the AOC and CAG had no association with Mint casino as it was not a member of either of the associations. Moreover, Mint casino has been shut for the last few days due to non-compliance of government regulations”.

Mint’s offshore casino vessel was raided a week ago and sealed for non-payment of a Rs.5 crore annual licence fee.

Punj said that the casino industry in Goa followed a strict code of conduct.

“The gaming industry has always advocated the need to have a regulatory body in place to provide a properly monitored and supervised casino environment, free from criminal involvement,” he said. There are presently six offshore casinos operating in Goa, while more than a dozen onshore casinos function out of numerous five star hotels in the coastal resort state.