It was business as usual at Pune's famed Kayani bakery on Wednesday, despite orders by the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) to the owners on Monday to shut down the establishment over not having a trading licence. When mid-day visited the iconic establishment on East Street, the cashier available at the counter refused to share his name but identified himself as co-owner.

Kayani bakery was bustling as usual on Wednesday

"We are law abiding citizens, and there is nothing illegal about the business we are conducting. We do not wish to say anything more" he said.

The bakery is run jointly by three partners, one of whom is based in Pune, while the others reside in Mumbai and Canada respectively.

On Monday, the sub-area commander and PCB president Brigadier Rajiv Sethi had conducted a joint inspection of the area with PCB and Defence Estates Office officials. The orders to shut down were issued to Kayani for conducting business without a trade licence since 2006. Two restaurants adjacent to the bakery -- Kwality restaurant and Bagban -- have also been asked to shut shop.

On Wednesday, when mid-day visited the area, both restaurants were shut, while Kayani was open and doing brisk business as usual.

Established in 1955 by Hormuz and Khodayar Irani, the bakery is best known for its Shrewsbury biscuits and value for money mawa cakes, flaky khari and crisp wine biscuits. Legend has it that the bakery used to earlier limit the sale of Shrewsbury to ensure they weren't resold elsewhere.

According to defence officials, "The bakery was operating out of a bungalow premises, which had been given on long-term lease. These bungalows were given on lease to various Zoroastrian families and many had converted them to commercial premises. One has even been converted into a school. During our audit, we found that several of these properties fall under the defence estate. Our officials have been working on the issue since 2006, but no action was taken."

The co-owner mid-day spoke to seated at the cash counter

PCB executive officer D N Yadav said, "We are working on the issuing and ceasing of licences. We have given the businesses concerned verbal instructions to close down. If they continue to run, we will be take the issue up before the general body to grant permission to prosecute them."

Yadav added, "The Defence Estates Office (DEO) has been refusing to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) to them for the past few years, despite which they continue to operate. We have records of the two years, 2016 and 2017, when their applications for an NOC were rejected by the DEO's office."