Sleuths of the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate raided a beach-front hotel in Uttan which was found to be selling alcohol and also serving hookah in an illegal manner to soliciting customers late on Saturday night. Four people including the manager, cashier and waiters were taken into custody and booked under section 65 (E) of the Prohibition Act and relevant sections of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
Acting on a tip-off, about hookah and liquor being illegally stocked, sold and served at the beach side hotel in Uttan, a team led by Senior Police Inspector- Prashant Langi, swooped down on Café Saga near the church in Uttan and seized Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) of various brands.
The eatery was also found to be serving tobacco-laced hookah to patrons, police said. The bar neither had an excise permit nor license to serve hookah products. The police team seized cash, IMFL and hookah material totaling more than Rs. 40,000 from the premises. Apart from small time eateries in the twin-city, this cafe is amongst several other establishments including - dhaba’s on the highway in Kashimira, beachfront food joints in Uttan and Gorai, which have transformed themselves into watering holes sans mandated excise licenses. However, the excise department has been turning a blind eye to the illegally operating establishments.
The accused who have been identified as- Pankaj Verma, Milan Khare, Jitendra Deoulkar and Asif Mailk have also been charged under the various sections of the IPC and provisions of the Epidemic Act And Disaster Management rules for violating guidelines which are in force to contain the pandemic.
However, the owner and operator of the cafe who are the actual beneficiaries of the illegal activities managed to evade the police dragnet. The Uttan coastal police station is conducting further investigations into the case.