Cop nexus more serious than hookah bars: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Superintendent of Police (SP), Thane (Rural) to probe allegations that police officers had a nexus with owners of hookah parlours that continue to run despite a ban imposed by the state government.

Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that connivance of police officers with owners of hookah bars is a more serious issue than the bars themselves.

The court was hearing a PIL by Crusade against Tobacco (CAT), an NGO, alleging that the Thane police had shielded the owner of a hotel at Ghodbunder Road, Thane.

Vincent Nazareth of CAT stated that volunteers of the NGO had seen at least 100 youngsters smoking hookah at the hotel in September. After they approached police, the hotel was allegedly tipped off before the raid and as a result nobody was caught smoking during the raid.

The court had earlier said that the first impression it got was that the police were on the side of the hotel rather than the law. On Wednesday the court had directed Thane Commissioner of Police K P Raghuvanshi to be present in court on Thursday. Complying with the court direction, Raghuvanshi attended the court but informed the hookah parlour in contention is in the jurisdiction of Thane (Rural) police.

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