Mumbai police arrested five persons, including the owner, during a raid at the renowned Ustaadi restaurant in Mumbai’s Crawford market area, which was serving hookah despite the blanket ban on such parlours.
The restaurant, formerly known as Zaffran, is located opposite Mumbai police commissioner’s office in Sitaram Building on Dr. DN Road near Crawford Market in CST area.
The team, headed by DCP Shivdeep Lande (Anti-Narcotic Cell), raided the eatery around 3 am on Saturday after receiving a tip-off about hookah being serviced in its premises.
After finding proof of the violation, they arrested five persons – including its owner, manager and three waiters.
All five were taken to MRA Marg police station and arrested under the non-bailable Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply & Distribution) Act (COTPA).
Since the hookahs were being served on the terrace section, a fire hazard due to the wooden furniture and mattresses, the accused were also booked under IPC for mischief by fire or explosive substance.
Further, 30 hookah pots, tobacco flavours, 38 pipes, and other related items found at the premises were seized.
Around 25-30 customers, who were present in the eatery during the raid, have been made witnesses. The owner Munib Birya (39), manager Imran Khan (36) and the three waiters, meanwhile, have been remanded to police custody till Monday.
This is the second major raid in the city since the state imposed a blanket ban on hookah parlours earlier this month. In the previous case, officials raided Chilly & Spice restaurant in Kandivali and arrested six persons for the violation.