A day after the Hyderabad Police Task Force raided a pub in Banjara Hills and booked its manager and others in a drugs case, Prohibition and Excise Department officials cancelled the bar license of the pub.
The bar license of Pudding and Mink pub was revoked on Monday, 4 April, under section 31 of The Telangana Excise Act for its violations, based on orders from Excise Minister V Srinivas Goud.
The pub had bought 24-hour permission to serve liquor, according to The Times of India.
Police said they found packets of white powder suspected to be cocaine on the premises of the pub and booked three persons under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
According to The New Indian Express, police seized around 5 grams of the white powder believed to be cocaine, and around 200 cigarette buds from the pub and have sent them for forensic analysis.
The Hindu reported that white powder found on the bar counter in a plastic container used for holding straws was tested and confirmed to be cocaine by the police.
The People Arrested
While two of the accused – Mahadaram Anil Kumar, the manager of the pub, and Abhishek Vuppala, who is a partner of the pub – have been arrested, produced before a court and sent to judicial remand, the third accused, Arjun Veeramachineni, is absconding.
Meanwhile, police said they have added the name of Kiran Raju, son-in-law of former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury, as an accused in the case and charged him with abetting the offence. The move was based on confessions of the two arrested persons who said Kiran is also associated with the pub, according to TNIE.
Soon after the raid on the pub in the early hours of Sunday, when it was reported that several persons from prominent families in the city were present at the pub or associated with it, Renuka Chowdhury had issued a media statement saying her daughter Tejaswini Chowdhury wasn’t the owner of the pub or involved in its management. Kiran Raju is yet to be taken into custody.
TOI reported that police said Kiran Raju’s exact role in the pub’s management is yet to be ascertained after verifying relevant documents.
Amid demands from BJP and Congress leaders to take stringent action against the sale and use of drugs, Government Whip Balka Suman alleged that those involved in the pub’s activity are related to both BJP and Congress party leaders. BJP leader Vuppala Sarada, mother of Abhishek Vuppala who is one of the persons arrested, has claimed that her son is innocent.
Raids and Searches on Bars and Pubs to Continue in Hyderabad: Excise Minister Srinivas Goud
Meanwhile, Excise Minister Srinivas Goud has said that raids and searches will continue on bars and pubs in Hyderabad.
Earlier on 31 January, Srinivas Goud had held a meeting with pub establishment owners in Hyderabad, to work towards eradicating the use of drugs and narcotics and drug peddling in the city.
The minister had said that pub owners must take responsibility for the actions of customers when it comes to drug use, and report names of suspicious individuals, regardless of any political influence they hold.
He had also said that if there are drug-related incidents at any pub, the owner would be taken into custody and the pub would be closed.
(Published in arrangement with The News Minute.)
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