Weeks after a brawl between the security guards of Bangalore Club and a senior IPS officer’s driver, the 147-year-old club’s license to serve alcohol on its premises has been suspended for a month.
Deputy commissioner, Bangalore Urban, V Shankar, acting on behalf of the state excise department, suspended the licence on December 2.
On November 5, security guards at the club’s entrance had insisted on seeing the identity card of additional DGP (railways) R P Sharma, whose car did not carry a sticker of the club’s membership. The issue had spurred a scuffle between Sharma’s driver Pappana and the guards.
Following the altercation, Sharma, a service member — a non-permanent membership accorded to IAS and IPS officers — of the club, allegedly created a ruckus. Also, the driver had filed a police complaint against the guards.
On November 7, the club set up a panel to investigate Sharma’s actions. A long-time member said the panel decided to suspend Sharma’s membership for his “high handed behaviour’’.
Meanwhile, the state excise department inspected the club premises during which it was reportedly found that liquor was being served in places other than the licensed Umbrella Bar and Men’s Bar.
On November 23, the excise department served a show cause notice to the club.
DC V Shankar said the licence was suspended after the club failed to respond to the notice, demanding explanations for serving alcohol in unlicensed locations.
Club members claimed that the licence was suspended at Sharma’s behest. “There is little doubt that the service member was angry with the disciplinary action and initiated the inquiry,” a member said.
Sharma, however, claimed that he wrote to the club’s secretary regarding the alleged violation of liquor norms on October 25, well before the incident.
“I am not connected to the excise department. Why is it being called a vendetta now?,” asked Sharma.
The club is now trying to get its papers in order ahead of New Year’s eve. “We received a letter yesterday from the club, saying all issues will be sorted out in the next few days,’’ member Bobby Kalra said.
The incident has also had a ripple effect in Bangalore with the excise department sending show cause notices to nearly 30 clubs over alleged violations of liquor norms.