VARANASI POLICE have booked a BJP leader whose hotel served liquor at a freshers’ party of IIT-BHU students Thursday, which was incidentally a dry day on account of the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.
Sanjay Singh is the treasurer of BJP’s district unit and owns ‘Sanjay Motel’ near Babatpur airport, which does not have the license to serve liquor, police said, adding that he has been booked under Section 60 of the Excise Act along with the hotel manager.
A group of 100 BTech students from the university’s Computer Science department had booked a hall, the lawn and the motel’s swimming pool for Rs 60,000 for the Thursday’s party, which began at 4 pm, minutes after Union HRD minister Smriti Irani left after attending an event of ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ campaign, police said.
Officers of Badgaon police station and excise officials raided the motel around 5 pm after receiving a tip-off that liquor was being served at the party, station officer Shashi Bhushan Rai said.
“Though we did not find evidence to establish that liquor was served to the students, empty bottles of liquor were found close to the motel’s boundary wall. A case under Section 60 of the Excise Act has been lodged against motel owner Sanjay Singh and its manager for serving liquor without permission. Further action will be taken on the basis of the findings in the investigation,” Rai said.
Varanasi District Excise Officer Y R Yadav said a notice has been issued to ‘Sanjay Motels’ for violating the Restaurants Act. Yadav, too, said that although no evidence could be recovered, some students were found “heavily drunk”. “It is possible that they had brought the liquor from outside. But the objection is over the hotel staff allowing them to consume liquor there,” he said.
When contacted, Sanjay Singh said his hotel did not serve liquor to the students. “There is no bar in my hotel. Some of the students had brought liquor with them, hiding it in their bags. I was busy with the programme of Union Minister Smriti Irani ji and then went to the airport to see her off. I learnt about the raid later on and about the police taking the manager’s signature on some documents,” said the BJP leader, who had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly by-election from Pindara constituency in 2009.
BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh said the university was not responsible for what students do outside the campus. “Students have their personal life and the university cannot interfere in anything that happens outside the campus. The district administration can take any action it deems fit,” the spokesperson said.