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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 26 June 2024

Excise department seeks explanation from HHI for serving liquor after 8pm

The officials sought CCTV footage from the sixth-floor corridor

Kinsuk Basu Calcutta Published 17.07.21, 02:02 AM
We have reasons to believe that liquor was served inside  the suite and accordingly the raid was carried out under specific provisions of excise rules: Officer.

We have reasons to believe that liquor was served inside the suite and accordingly the raid was carried out under specific provisions of excise rules: Officer. Shutterstock

The excise department has sought an explanation from Hotel Hindustan International (HHI) for allegedly serving liquor beyond the government stipulated time of 8pm in a suite on the sixth floor.

Officers in the excise department said the Saturday night party at the AJC Bose Road hotel was held at the bar before it was shifted to the suite post-8pm.

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A state government order on Covid curbs says all bar-cum-restaurants, including those in hotels, have to shut by 8pm.

Excise officials who would not be named said when a team of officers reached the sixth floor, the hotel authorities allegedly switched off the corridor lights and the hotel’s manager remained unavailable despite saying he would be there within a few minutes.

Asked for comment, an HHI spokesperson told this newspaper: “We have nothing to say as of now. I will let you know when my bosses tell me something.”

A senior officer of the excise department said: “We have reasons to believe that liquor was served inside the suite and accordingly the raid was carried out under specific provisions of excise rules. The hotel authorities will have to explain whether they had served liquor in the sixth-floor suite after 8pm or the liquor was sourced from outside.”

The excise department said it had sought CCTV footage from the sixth-floor corridor. One footage that the hotel authorities submitted on Friday was said to be hazy. “They said a large part of the hotel has remained shut during the pandemic and some CCTVs have developed snags resulting in blurred images,” the officer said.

Officers from the excise department are believed to have visited the hotel around 9pm on Saturday, some four hours before a team of officers of the detective department of Calcutta police raided The Park, where a late night party was allegedly going on in violation of Covid curbs.

In all, 37 persons were arrested from the Park Street hotel and several items, including liquor bottles, glasses and a DJ console were seized. An FIR was lodged with Park Street police station under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code.

On Friday, officers of the detective department spoke to senior officials of The Park to try and understand whether the hotel had played any role in making arrangements for the late night party in violation of restrictions imposed by the state government.

“Some hotel employees claimed that they were not aware that some guests, who had booked rooms on the second and third floors, had planned to organise a party late at night,” said an officer. “We might need to question a few other officials again.”

The Park has been barred from serving alcohol till further orders.

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