Rein in bribe-seeking cops or withdraw new deadline: Bars

Rein in bribe-seeking cops or withdraw new deadline: Bars

Rein in bribe-seeking cops or withdraw new deadline: Bars

Bar and pub owners were thrilled when the City police recently permitted them to remain open till am on Fridays and Saturdays but it may be a short-lived celebration as a section of the traders themselves is opposing the new timings, saying the police are harassing them. 

Although business seems to be satisfactory in most police divisions, bar owners in the west division claim that the footfall has declined following the extension of deadline. 

“Of late, bar owners in Gandhinagar, Upparpet and Chickpet areas are being harassed by the police. We have not been able to do business till 1 am as policemen force us to close down much before the extended deadline,” Jeevan B N, former vice president of Ladies Service Bars Association, claimed. 

The owners have decided to meet Home Minister K J George seeking withdrawal of the extension. 

Most of the over 200 liquor outlets in the west division are forced to close down by 11.30 pm even on weekends, Jeevan said. The police claim that illegal activities such as flesh trade are being encouraged in the name of pubs and ladies service bars. There have been a few raids as well and lower rung policemen demand bribes to allow business, he asserted. 

Jeevan went on: “There are 11 ladies service bars. We follow all the norms and every activity is captured by CCTV cameras installed at these establishments. But the CCB police raid our premises, claiming that we run a flesh trade racket. One or two places may be doing this, but the police target every establishment.” 

To make matters worse, Jeevan said, the excise department recently sent them a directive, setting monthly sales target of 468 litres of hot drinks. 

Failure to reach the target would attract a penalty of about Rs three lakh, according to Manjunath, who runs Ashwini Bar. 

Not unsurprisingly, these things are dissuading regular customers who seem to think that bars and pubs in and around the Majestic area close down by 11.30 am. And they have begun moving to Indiranagar, MG Road, Ashok Nagar, Shanthinagar and other areas where liquor shops are open till 1 am during weekends. Many owners have been forced to pay the fine to the excise department. 

Flesh trade

Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar asserted that some establishments were indeed being used for flesh trade.

 “These places employ more women, even though such a big number is not required, only to encourage prostitution. Hence, the police raid such places,” he said. 

DCP (West) Labhu Ram refuted the allegation that the police were forcing the alcoholic establishments to close down before the extended deadline. “Policemen are deployed in large numbers at places where there is heavy public movement.

They will take action based on the existing situation, but they have not forced any establishment to close down. I have not received any complaint about policemen demanding money to permit the bars or pubs to remain open. We will certainly take action such policemen, if any. Bars are totally free to operate till 1 am during weekends,” he told Deccan Herald. 

The home minister could not be reached for comment. 

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