Nearly 24 hours after a rave party was raided at a Juhu hotel on Sunday night, the Maharashtra State Excise Department issued strict orders making it mandatory for all ward officers to conduct surprise checks at venues, which have been issued one-day party licences.
Not only this; the department has decided to pull up the venue owner and the licence holder if there’s evidence of any wrongdoing at the spot. Oakwood Premier hotel on JR Mhatre Road near Juhu beach – where the raid was conducted – too was issued a single-day party permit by the department as the licence holder had claimed this to be a birthday party where alcohol will be served.
“It is unfortunate to see that people are doling out drugs in the name of alcohol and birthday parties. We had issued them a one-day party permit and nothing more than that. We have found that there’s no breach of licence in this case. The permit was issued in the name of the son of the owner of Oakwood Premier,” said NN Mudiraj, superintendent (suburbs) state excise.
Mudiraj confirmed that the department has decided to get strict with establishments that seek one-day party licences from it. “We have asked officers to carry out unannounced inspections at sites where excise issues single-day permits. The department usually examines the stock of liquor, which is mentioned on the inventory given to the department, but the surprise checks will help avoid unwelcome situations,” Mudiraj added.
“There are times when the permit is issued to the license holder and he/she does not add his/her name properly and just signs the licence and pays the fee. Whereas a few feel once they have been supplied with a licence, they will not be checked further. But the department has decided to get firm with the licencees,” said another excise official, on the condition of anonymity.
The police on Sunday night detained approximately 100 people, including celebrities and IPL cricketers, present at the rave party at Oakwood hotel in Juhu after about 110 g of cocaine, ecstasy pills and charas were recovered from the spot. Police have also arrested the organiser of the party, Vijay Handa, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Cost of a one-day party licence