Bhayandar: Cracking a whip against illegal hookah bars, sleuths of the Thane (rural) police on Wednesday raided one such joint in Mira Road and booked the manager under section 285 of IPC for negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter.
Acting on a specific tip-off, a police team led by Senior Police Inspector- Shekhar Dombe swooped down Stadia Sport Lounge- a hookah parlour located on the second floor of Ostwal Orbit building in Mira Road at around 11 pm. The police team observed that the hookah parlour was operating from a congested section sans safety measures and without proper fire exits which could lead to fire traps in case of an emergency situation.
The 26- year-old manager of the establishment was taken into custody and booked under the relevant sections of the IPC and the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, however the owner who is the actual beneficiary of the illegal trade is yet to be identified. Judicial directions have paved the way for herbal hookah bars after a clarification that no action can be taken against an establishment for serving tobacco-free hookah. However, dozens of parlours continue to operate in the twin-city under the garb of serving herbal tobacco-free hookah by obtaining licences under the shops and establishment act and without following any regulations, even as the Mira Bhaynadar Municipal Corporation’s fire brigade continues to turn a blind eye to the illegal activities.
It may be recalled that during preliminary investigation report conducted by the Mumbai Fire Brigade into the deadly inferno that engulfed two posh restaurants at Kamala Mills compound had concluded that the hookah charcoal was the source of the massive blaze that snuffed out 14 lives in December-2017.