The Pune police raided a commercial building in an upmarket area in Vimannagar in the early hours of Sunday and found liquor and hookah being illegally served on its terrace. They arrested the owner and 12 staffers of the restaurant who were catering to the 39 customers, nine of them women, who were detained too.
Senior police officers said there were several such restaurants and private premises, especially in the fringe areas of the city, which stayed open till late in the night and hookah and served liquor, with the local police turning a blind eye.
As per instructions from Additional Commissioner of Police (North Zone) Prakash Mutyal, the raid was conducted by police teams that were not from the Vimannagar police station. The police said the local police station was not informed about the raid anticipating that information might get leaked.
Based on a tip-off, police teams from Bhosari and Mundhwa raided the premises of ‘Dhuaa — the kebab hut’, around 3 am. Police arrested the owner of the restaurant, Nitesh Baban Tupe, and 12 staffers, besides 30 men and nine women customers — most of them aged between 20 and 28.
Speaking to Newsline, Mutyal said: “The raid was carried out by a team led by Inspector Chandrakant Bhosale of Bhosari police station. Some staffers from the Mundhwa police station were also part of the team. The local police station was not kept in the loop, anticipating that information will leak out. We had received a tip-off from a local social worker four days ago. We kept a watch and a trap was laid.”
He added: “The people who ran the place had no permit, even that of a restaurant. We have booked them according to the Bombay Prohibition Act. As per the Act, sale of liquor without permit is punishable. People present on the premises were also booked. Hukkah, which is banned, was also being served. We have seized liquor and hukkah.”
When asked if any action was being taken against the owner of the property, Mutyal said: “We are finding out who owns the place and on what basis it was rented. We will take action accordingly.” All the arrested 51 people were produced before court on Sunday and granted bail. Medical examination of the arrested customers were done, results of which were awaited.