The Bombay High Court on Thursday declined to grant the owner of the infamous Duru Bar in Ulhasnagar any interim relief against an order of a single judge bench of the high court, who had upheld the Thane police commissioner’s order to cancel the bar’s licences.
The court has now posted the matter for hearing after the summer vacations, by which time the criminal trial against the owners for destruction of evidence is likely to conclude. MiD DAY had exposed (‘This bar has been raided 1,503 times, and it still continues to run’, October 27, 2012) how the notorious dance bar, where a couple of murders had occurred in the past, continued to operate despite its licences being cancelled. At an earlier hearing, advocate Jamshed Cama contended that the 2005 murder of the bar’s proprietor, which was one of the grounds for revocation of the licences, was prior to the ownership of his client.
The property was purchased by its current owner Mahesh Shivram Putharan in 2009. Putharan is the proprietor of Spring Valley Hotel and Restaurant, which runs Duru Bar. The bar’s licences for running an eating house, public entertainment and orchestra were cancelled shortly after the murder of bookie Rajesh Kukreja on June 18. Putharan then challenged the cancellation before the appellate authority, the principal secretary (appeals) at the home department. The appellate authority upheld the cancellation and Putharan moved high court.
On October 10, Justice SC Dharmadhikari upheld the cancellation, observing, “It is not for the first time that the establishment has witnessed a ghastly and serious act of an individual being killed. The incident of 2005 and equally of 2012 would indicate that if the petitioners are allowed to continue with their licence and business at the establishment, there will be a serious law and order problem.”
The subject of dispute in the petition is that Putharan’s men washed the bloodstains on the steps leading to the bar on instruction of the police. The chargesheet has arraigned Putharan as an accused for destroying evidence.
On Thursday, the court dismissed the petitioners’ application, noting, “[The] applicants’ licence to run the restaurant bar is cancelled on account of criminal case wherein the owner of that restaurant is also arrayed as an accused. Granting interim relief would amount to allowing the appeal at the interlocutory stage without adjudication.”