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Hyderabad: Online hotel operations come under police scanner

Hyderabad: An increase in the misuse of hotel rooms that are booked online has prompted the Hyderabad City Police to call hotels to the discussion table to stop violation of law in such hotel rooms.

There were several instances in the city recently, where the police raided rooms of online hotel chains and found that rooms booked over the internet were being misused for gambling and even flesh trade.

“As there is not much interaction between the management nor proper surveillance on the accommodation, people are checking in and indulging in unlawful activities,” a police official said.

Following complaints from local people, the police had in the past raided a few rooms in apartments that were leased out to such hotel room operators and arrested people for carrying out illegal activities.

“For hotels and lodges, it is mandatory that the management approaches the authorities concerned and obtain various clearances before starting their business. The online hotel room operators are not informing the police which in turn is resulting in misuse of their properties,” the official said.

City Police Commissioner CV Anand, following several complaints and police cases, is now planning to hold a meeting with managements and property owners to explain to them the necessity of checking luggage, maintaining records of visitors and installing CCTV cameras for surveillance.

“People are just walking in after booking a room online. It is quite risky and a threat. Already in several cases, police teams caught people for illegal activities in such rooms and sealed the premises. The management has to support us to ensure the safety and security of the society,” he said.

Officials say maintaining a record of people who book rooms online and check-in will make it easy to detect any illegal activity or crime. Surveillance cameras will also act as a deterrent for criminals, they feel.

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