When the Capital was just a few minutes away from the countdown to 2011, south Delhi police swooped down on five major night joints in Saket, ordering the owners to shut down and hand over the music system to them.
Sohrab Sitaram, owner of Tabula Rasa in Square One mall, Saket said: "At 11.20pm, 50 armed policemen led by the additional SHO (station house officer), Saket, barged in and started abusing the guests. One policeman misbehaved with two women and twisted their arms. They slapped the bouncers, security guards, broke their cell phones, confiscated the DJ's equipment and beat whoever tried to stop them."
Ashim Jain (name changed), 42, an entrepreneur, who was at Tabula Rasa, was allegedly manhandled by the policemen. He said, "A policeman came up to me and forcefully took in writing that the DJ was playing music till 12.30am so they were forced to shut the place."
"At 11.30pm, police came and shut the place saying they had instructions. They asked me to hand over the music system," said F Grill & Lounge's managing director Rajan Madhu. "I requested the SHO and said that I had sound proofing done in the lounge and had permission to keep the place open till 2am but in vain."
"While watering holes across Delhi and NCR were open until 4am, why shut just Saket," asked Akshay Anand, co-owner of 1café'bar in Saket. "The cops came around 10.30pm, took away the DJ mixer, while four of them guarded the entrance," said co-owner Priyank Sukhija. Why, even Hard Rock Café and Aquum were on until 2am, but they never stopped them," Sukhija added.
Vyom Ghai, co-owner of Buzz at MGF Metropolitan mall said: "Why selective places? We cleared the entertainment taxes, PPL licence, and had legal clearance to host the party. What made them stop us?"
A senior officer with the south Delhi police said on condition of anonymity: "These places had overshot the time limit as per the Supreme Court guidelines they had also installed extra equipment to boost their audio systems and that is also against the law. When we requested them to do away with the equipment, the staff and even some of the guests got violent and we had no option but to retaliate.... we had to enforce the law."