Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, the posh restaurant operated by Union Minister Smriti Irani's daughter Zoish Irani in Goa's Assagao, has landed in a controversy after it was found that its owners renewed the restaurant's liquor licence using the name of a deceased person.
Narayan M Gad, the excise commissioner of Goa, had on 21 July issued a show-cause notice to the restaurant after receiving a complaint from lawyer Aires Rodrigues, who stated that the owners had submitted "fraudulent and fabricated documents" to get the licence, reported The Print.
The matter is set to be heard in court on 29 July.
According to the show-cause notice, the restaurant's liquor licence was renewed last month, although the licence holder had passed away on 17 May 2021.
On 22 June this year, the restaurant applied for the licence renewal in the name of Anthony Dgama. However, Dgama had passed away in May 2021, the show-cause notice stated. As per the Aadhaar card of Dgama, which was issued in December 2020, he was a resident of Mumbai's Vile Parle. Lawyer Rodrigues has also found Dgama's death certificate from Mumbai municipal corporation to substantiate his statements.
The state excise department said that the licence renewal application "was signed by someone on behalf of the licence holder with an undertaking that ‘please renew this licence for the year 2022-23 and will transfer the said licence within six months."
Lawyer Rodrigues, who got to know about this illegal act following a tip-off, found the fraudulent documents used by the restaurant for licence renewal, through an RTI application. He has now sought for a thorough inquiry to be conducted into the "mega fraud orchestrated by the Union minister's family along with excise officials and local Assagao panchayat."
Further, contending that Silly Souls Cafe and Bar still doesn't have an restaurant licence to operate in the state, the lawyer said, the excise department had "bent the rules" to accord licence for foreign liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor to the owners. As per the excise rules, only an existing restaurant can get a liquor or bar licence, he asserted.
(With inputs from The Print.)