Cracking a whip against illegal hookah joints, sleuths of the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police raided one such establishment in Mira Road and booked the operator and other staffers under section 285 of the IPC for negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter. This apart from slapping other relevant sections of the IPC and and Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act) - (COPTA), 2003.
Acting on a tip-off a team led by Senior Police Inspector- Vijaysingh Bagal and API-Shivkumar Gaikwad swooped down on-G.H. Caterers and Restaurant- an eatery located in the Gaurav Enclave area which doubled up as a hookah joint on the first floor. Apart from finding use of tobacco-laced hookah, the police team also observed charcoal burners in the hookah parlour which 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.
While the operator identified as-Yogesh Gowda (47) and waiters were taken into custody, soliciting customers were rounded up by the police team. Scores of illegal joints continue to operate in the twin-city under the garb of serving herbal tobacco-free hookah by obtaining licenses under the shops and establishment act without following any regulations.