The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 23 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Liquor ban for lounge bar

Ginger, the Hazra watering hole that witnessed the drunken brawl leading to Sunday morning’s street shooting in Ballygunge, has been handed a weeklong liquor ban for keeping its bar open beyond the curfew hour.

“We have suspended their licence for seven days and slapped a showcause notice. The authorities need to explain why the stipulated time limit mentioned in the licence was violated. We will revoke their bar licence if the explanation is not satisfactory,” said Jawed Shamim, the joint commissioner of police (headquarters) on Monday.

Ginger has “special permission” to keep the bar open till 2am on weekends but liquor is allegedly served till at least 4am. “We have come to know that the groups involved in the brawl early on Sunday were there till 4am, which is way beyond the time limit,” said Shamim.

Lalbazar is also investigating the role of Kalighat police station in the incident. “They were informed about the brawl and a team went to the lounge bar around 2.30am. But everything was supposedly back to normal by then and they returned to the police station. We are conducting a probe to find out why the cops did not close the bar knowing that the time limit for Sunday was 2am,” said a senior officer in the police headquarters.

He said all police stations were supposed to conduct “surprise checks” on bars and report violations to Lalbazar.

The brawl at Ginger was between Babar Khan, a regular visitor to the lounge bar, and an acquaintance named Vicky. The two youths injured in the Ballygunge Circular Road shooting — Shaqueel Khan and trainee DJ Vishal Agarwal — had sided with Babar during the fight.

Vicky, the prime accused in the shooting near Azad Hind dhaba, is absconding.

“We have carried out a series of raids on possible hideouts of Vicky but haven’t been able to trace him. We have spoken to all the boys and girls who were partying at Ginger when the brawl occurred. A young woman who is an MBA student has given us a blow-by-blow account of the shooting as well,” said Damayanti Sen, the deputy commissioner of the detective department.

Shaqueel, who took three bullets in the attack, underwent laparotomy at Apollo Hospitals on Monday to repair a hole in his small intestine, caused by the bullet that perforated his stomach. The bullet lodged in his thigh will be removed on Tuesday.

“He is also suffering from infection, which is being controlled with a high dose of antibiotics. He is still on ventilator support,” said a doctor at the EM Bypass hospital.

Vishal underwent surgery in a Hedua nursing home on Monday to remove a bullet from his right thigh.

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