As the entire nation is in combat mode against the deadly pandemic, some greedy bar owners who till recently were in a complete lock-down mode, are now not sparing even important dry days by indulging in the illegal sale and service of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) with the sole intention of minting a few extra bucks.
The excise department (Thane) took action against two establishments including a permit room in Mira Road and a lodging-cum-bar in Bhayandar (east) for selling liquor to customers on 15, August- a statutory dry day to mark the Independence Day, when the sale of any type of liquor is not permitted in the country.
Acting on a tip-off a flying squad led by Senior Excise Inspector- Vijay Thorat and R. Kolthe raided Mani Palace Bar in Mira Road and Hotel Equity in Bhayandar (east). While the permit room license holder was caught giving away IMFL as a parcel, the hotel management was found to be serving liquor in the rooms of the lodging facility. “As per the due process of law, we have registered breach-of-rules cases against the permit holders and will take suitable action.” confirmed Thorat.
In accordance with the excise manual, selling liquor on a dry day is a serious breach of rule which invites suspension of licenses. The collector, who himself heads the district disaster management cell, is empowered to assess the severity of offences and decide the quantum of punishment which ranges from monetary penalties, temporary suspension of licenses, permit termination and even jail terms.
Notably, personnel from the local police stations remained oblivious about the brazen illegalities and the excise action due to obvious reasons, giving an opportunity to the permit holders in dodging other penal sections related to defiance of the disaster management and epidemic act. Meanwhile, a case under the relevant sections of the Prohibition Act and Maharashtra Foreign Liquor Act has been registered by the excise department.
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