The police on Tuesday arrested a 32-year-old man who operated a hookah lounge in Raj Nagar District Centre (RDC) in Ghaziabad for allegedly allowing minors in the bar. Three of his staff were also arrested.
The police said that they seized tobacco, perfumed liquid and charcoal cakes from the bar, which was run on a rented premises.
The operator, Anurag Sinha, holds an MBA degree and is also a graduate in hotel management. Sinha and three of his staff -- Deepak, Shivam and Ravi -- were booked under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 at the Kavi Nagar police station.
The police said that parents of a minor boy lodged a complaint against Sinha after their child frequented the bar Planet Fusion. The boy was caught red handed from the bar on Tuesday morning.
“The complainant told that his son reached the bar around 9am on Tuesday and also got into a habit of smoking hookah regularly. During investigation, we came to know from locals that the place is frequented by hundreds of boys and girls from schools and colleges,” Ashok Kumar Shishodia, station house officer, Kavi Nagar, said.
The officials from the food and drug administration department said that tobacco is not under the category of food items and there licence for hookah bar is not issued.
Sinha told the police that he operated the bar over a 1,700 square feet area on a monthly rent of Rs 52,000. He also told the police that he had a food licence but operated the bar instead, and served snacks and other items too.
“We have recovered 10-12 hookahs and other tobacco products from the bar. The man told us that a visitor was charged Rs 250-350 per sitting for smoking a set of hookah, which could be simultaneously used by four persons. The base of the hookah was filled with cold water, and a combination of molasses and nicotine was heated with charcoal for smoking,” Shishodia said.
Following the FIR and seizure, all the four accused were produced before a Ghaziabad court. A detailed report about the hookah bars operating in RDC, Kavi Nagar and other areas was also sent to senior police and administrative officials for immediate action, the police said.