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Restro-bar at Delhi five-star hotel sealed for serving smuggled liquor

A case was registered under section of the excise act at the Chanakyapuri police station. The excise department has also initiated the process to cancel the licence of the restaurant-cum-bar.

delhi Updated: Jul 30, 2017 23:47 IST
Delhi hotel,restro-bar,illegal liquor
A total of 47 bottles, including top liquor brands such as Black Label, Chivas Regal, Jack Daniels, Belvedere, and bottles of wine, including Jacob Creek and other varieties of Chardonnay and Merlot, were seized from the restaurant.(REUTERS)

A restaurant-bar operating from the iconic Ashok hotel in Chanakyapuri was sealed on Saturday night for selling non-duty paid liquor (NDPL).

The action came after a joint raid on Lithiyum bar by Delhi Police and excise department officials on a tip off.

A case was registered under section of the excise act at the Chanakyapuri police station. The excise department has also initiated the process to cancel the licence of the restaurant-cum-bar.

A total of 47 bottles, including top liquor brands such as Black Label, Chivas Regal, Jack Daniels, Belvedere, and bottles of wine, including Jacob Creek and other varieties of Chardonnay and Merlot, were seized from the restaurant.

“The alcohol was seized from a store behind the staff toilet where the bottles were stacked. These bottles were unaccounted and did not have a bar code on them. The records of the restaurant were checked and it was found that excise duty for the liquor was not paid,” a police official said.

“The restaurant was earlier known by the name of Capitol and was recently revamped and relaunched as Lithyium. It became operational only last week,” he added.

Managing director of Lithiyum, Saurabh Katiyal, refuted the allegations.

Reacting to the raid, an official at the public relations department, The Ashok Hotel, told Hindustan Times: “Hearing about Saturday night sealing of Lithiyum is unfortunate. Lithiyum is a licensed outlet and is not owned or operated by the Ashok.The hotel doesn’t have any direct or indirect control on the working of outlet Lithiyum. All the operations are managed by their own and the outlet is directly responsible for observing all the rules and regulations. We as a responsible hotel of the country always abide by the rules and regulations of the authorities.”

An excise department official explained that non-duty paid liquor in the capital are generally smuggled from neighbouring Haryana.

“We had been getting intelligence inputs about illegal liquor being served at restaurants, including those at five-star hotels. We conducted a few raids in the past, but we could finally make a breakthrough in this case,” he said.

“The seized bottles will be sent for a quality test. We have been focusing on regulating the sale of foreign liquor. Three restaurants in Rajouri Garden were sealed over the past one month for the same offence, while one in Punjabi Bagh was sealed for serving liquor to a minor,” the official added.

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First Published: Jul 30, 2017 23:46 IST