What had started out as a night to remember for Jeffrey Sutorius aka Dash Berlin —recognised as the seventh most popular DJ in the world — and his fans in the city, swiftly turned into a nightmare. The show organised at Penthouze Pub, Mundhwa came to an abrupt end, leaving hundreds of music buffs high and dry, as cops pulled the plug on the performance.
Not only this. The famed musician had to spend more than two hours at the local police station, facing questions about the nature of his visa. Hours later, Dash Berlin tweeted, “Just to clarify I was questioned by the police as they needed to check my work visa was valid, everything was fine and I was free to go.” “I love India, no matter what!” he added minutes later.
The show was supposed to go on until 1.30 am, for which fans had shelled out about Rs 1,600 each. However, when INTUC president Rahul Mhaske and a few members of Youth Congress informed the police that the international artiste was performing at an event that did not have permission of the state home ministry, police stopped the show and took Dash and his associates, including VJ Nikhil Chinapa to Mundhwa police station around midnight. Chinapa’s company Submerge Music had organised the programme.
“It was the responsibility of the owner of the venue to get permission of the state home ministry before organising the international artiste’s performance in the city. The pub owner obtained approval only for Chinapa’s performance. When we raided the place, acting on the tip-off, we found Dash playing there, which was against the law,” said inspector Vishwanath Ghanavat of Mundhwa police station.
He added that while interrogating the DJ, police realised that Dash’s only mistake was he did not try to ascertain from the pub management whether or not they had acquired the go-ahead for holding the event.
“Dash told us that he was unaware about the rules. However, for breaking the law, we slapped relevant sections of Bombay Police Act, 1951 on him and Penthouze owner Kunal Mhaske,” said Ghanavat. Meanwhile, in an attempt to prevent the police from taking action, the pub management allegedly tried its level best to pressurise the cops.
MiD DAY found two young men from the establishment, who declined to give their names, repeatedly asking police officials to speak to an unidentified IAS officer over the phone. However, the constables refused to buckle under the pressure, refused to take the call, and went ahead with their duties.
One of the pub employees turned the phone’s speaker on, and this reporter heard the person on the other side shouting and insisting in Gujarati that the cops speak to him. When the constables refused, the employee present at the venue threatened the personnel, saying, “Bata deta hoon, IAS officer hai. Call lega ke nahi lega?”
When MiD DAY tried to contact owner of Penthouze Pub Kunal Mhaske, he disconnected the call after listening to the matter and then SMSed this reporter that he was busy.
Zone IV DCP Manoj Patil said that ignorance couldn't be an excuse for not following the law. Patil said that the cops had informed the venue owner well in advance to get the permission of the state home ministry, as an international artiste was going to perform.
Music buffs disappointed
Baloo, who had come from Bangalore especially for the show, said that it was a huge disappointment when the event was stopped unexpectedly, and that he did not care what the reason was. Another fan, on the condition of anonymity, told MiD DAY that he had just entered the pub and purchased a ticket for Rs 1,600 when the curtains came down on the event.
Dash Berlin @dashberlin: Just to clarify I was questioned by the police as they needed to check my work visa was valid, everything was fine and I was free to go.