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Silly Souls Row: Goa Excise Dept Asks License Holder of Restaurant To File Reply

The restaurant is allegedly operated by Union Minister Smriti Irani's daughter Zoish Irani.

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Amid growing controversy surrounding Union Minister Smriti Irani's daughter, Goa's excise commissioner on Friday, 29 July, directed the licence holder of 'Silly Souls Cafe and Bar' to file their response to the complaint on alleged irregularities in the licencing of the upmarket restaurant in Assagao.

The complaint filed by lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues alleged that the licence to run the restaurant was obtained "illegally" and that it was renewed this year in the name of a person who died in 2021.

After hearing Rodrigues and advocate Benny Nazareth, representing the family of the liquor licence holder late Anthony Dgama, Excise Commissioner Narayan Gad framed two issues for determination: the first issue being as to whether the excise licence was obtained by submitting false and inadequate documents and by misrepresenting facts; the second issue being whether there were procedural irregularities on the part of the excise officials.

The hearing was adjourned to 22 August.

The controversial restaurant is allegedly operated by Irani's daughter Zoish Irani.

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What Is the Complaint?

On 21 July, the excise commissioner had issued a show-cause notice to Silly Souls Cafe and Bar based on the complaint filed by Rodrigues.

Rodrigues pointed out in his complaint that the licence in the name of Anthony Dgama was issued despite the Aadhaar card submitted by him showing that he was a resident of Mumbai, and that the Aadhaar card was issued only on 30 December 2020 – days before the excise licence application was filed.

Further, last month on 29 June, the local excise office at Mapusa allegedly renewed that excise licence in the name of Anthony Dgama despite him having passed away last year on 17 May 2021, as per the death certificate issued by the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai.

"The excise department, on 18th February 2021, in rank violation of law issued a licence for retail sale of foreign liquor for consumption on the premises along with another licence for retail sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor and country liquor to the outlet without the required restaurant licence being in place," the complaint had said.

Furthermore, contending that Silly Souls Cafe and Bar doesn't even have a restaurant licence to operate in the state, the lawyer alleged that the excise department had "bent the rules" to accord the licence for foreign liquor and Indian-made foreign liquor to the owners.

Rodrigues also told the director of Panchayats that the construction of the restaurant was illegal too.

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Soon after the show-cause notice was issued last week, the Congress party had strongly criticised Smriti Irani, demanding that the minister be sacked over the allegations against her daughter.

Irani, who has categorically denied the claims, asked the Opposition party to tender an unconditional written apology and withdraw the allegations with immediate effect.

"The allegation that my daughter runs an illegal bar is malicious, with the intent not only to assassinate her character, but also to politically malign me," the Union minister of women and child development had said.

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Topics:  Smriti Irani   Goa 

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