Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik orders surprise raids on hookah bars

The move comes after the police chief received complaints from several locals, and found that despite NGT’s order banning restaurants from serving hookah, local police failed to act against them, with many bars running with their connivance.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi | Published: June 18, 2018 1:58:16 am
“In the meeting, Patnaik directed the deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) from all 14 districts to ensure that appropriate legal action against hookah bars is taken on a regular basis,” a senior police officer said. (Representational Image)

Fixing responsibility of local police in two crucial matters, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik directed the vigilance branch and public grievance (PG) cell of all 14 districts to conduct surprise raids in hotels and restaurants to check for the presence of active hookah bars. He directed that if any hookah bar was found to be functional, then strict departmental action will be initiated against the district’s SHO and concerned beat staff.

Patnaik issued the directions at a recent crime review meeting, held at the Delhi Police headquarters in ITO. The move comes after the police chief received complaints from several locals, and found that despite the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT’s) order banning restaurants from serving hookah, local police failed to act against them, with many bars running with their connivance.

“In the meeting, Patnaik directed the deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) from all 14 districts to ensure that appropriate legal action against hookah bars is taken on a regular basis,” a senior police officer said.

The police chief directed that accountability of the police staff concerned should be fixed.

Last year, 27-year-old Vinay Bhati sustained a gunshot wound to his collarbone at a club in Greater Kailash-I. Bhati had posted a Facebook Live video which showed him smoking a hookah. Police were initially unaware that the bar was running illegally at ‘Rich Bratz 17 Bar and Lounge’. However, an FIR was lodged against the restaurant later. An internal enquiry was also initiated against local policemen and action taken against beat staff. The SHO was let off with a warning.

“Strict surveillance should be kept over registered criminals and ruffians at all police stations, as well as jail releases. All DCPs should get details of identified criminals from the Crime Branch and open their history sheets,” said a police officer, adding that Patnaik asked DCPs to analyse the crime trends in their district and take appropriate action.

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