Flying squad, excise department conduct raids on pubs, bars and liquor vends
The chief minister’s Flying Squad and officials of the excise and taxation department on Thursday and Friday nights raided more than 10 pubs and bars and 10 liquor shops in the city after receiving information on violations, said officials.
The Flying Squad formed two teams, consisting of eight officers from excise and taxation department, along with their own squad members. The teams were led by an inspector and a sub-inspector during the raids.
Inderjeet Yadav, deputy superintendent of police, crime investigation department, said that on Thursday night, they received several tip-offs that pub, bars and restaurants across the city were operating beyond the permissible time limit. The liquor shops were also violating excise rules and regulations. “Many pubs, bars and restaurants have paid extra fees to the excise and taxation department to operate beyond midnight, but they were taking advantage and were operating till early morning. In some establishments parties were underway in full swing when we raided,” he said.
There are nearly 350 pubs, bars and restaurants and 187 liquor shops across the city. As per rules, bars, pubs and liquor shops are only allowed to open until midnight.
Harish Budhiraja, inspector, chief minister’s Flying Squad, said that they had conducted a reconnaissance of the areas, such as Sector 29, MG Road, Golf Course Road, Sohna Road and Golf Course Extension Road, before carrying out the raid. “We started raiding after 1am and found that many of the pubs and bars were still operational. The establishments were still taking entries despite the fact that their licence time was valid until 1am. They were serving liquor to the guests and had promised to entertain them until early morning,” he said.
Budhiraja said they had also received several complaints against open drinking in the city. He added that they have formed special teams that will conduct raids to crackdown on people drinking in public spaces. He said that anyone who is found consuming alcohol in public will be arrested on the spot.
Another major concern is the open flouting Covid-19 regulations by people present at the bars and pubs. Officials said that the areas where people flout Covid-19 norms have been identified and they plan to start raids from Friday night.
Budhiraja said these checks will be in addition to the regular checks that are carried out at the markets and other public places on a daily basis. “The liquor shops were closed but the salesmen were selling from below the shutter and were operational throughout the night,” he said.
The teams visited popular spots like Sector 29, Cyber Hub, Horizon 1 and Sohna Road, which are hubs of restaurants and bars and are frequented by thousands on a daily basis. Four pub and bars, along with four liquor vends were challaned, said officials.
Aruna Singh, deputy excise and taxation commissioner (DETC), said that their assistant excise and taxation officer (AETO) and inspectors were present with the squad. “We have sent the challans to the headquarters in Panchkula. Our teams have challaned the establishments for violating the excise policy. Appropriate action will be taken against them,” she said.
Singh said the annual license fees for a pub and bar is ₹18 lakh and for every additional hour ₹10 lakh extra has to be paid. The pub, bar and restaurants can operate until 3am with ₹30 lakh additional licence fees.
KK Rao, commissioner of police, said that any establishment found violating Covid-19 regulations will be sealed and the persons concerned will be booked. “We are also planning to announce a monetary reward for people giving information on violations,” he said.
The police teams are deployed in all public areas in plain clothes and are keeping a close watch on people not wearing masks. Those violating the rule are being fined ₹500 on the spot, said officials.