Almost immediately after The Free Press Journal elaborately highlighted the apathy of the administration in keeping a check on a large number of beer shops which had turned into open mini-bars, (Beer Shops Mock Law, Brew into Mini Bars dated 25, July), the Mira Bhayandar- Vasai Virar (MBVV) police swung into action and launched a crackdown against such unscrupulous establishments in the twin-city. Taking cognizance of the news, MBVV chief- Sadanand Date immediately directed his officials to take stringent action against such illegalities.
Subsequently, a police team from the Navghar police station under the supervision of Senior Police Inspector-Milind Desai conducted checks at three beer shops in his jurisdiction and rounded up 11 tipplers who were brazenly consuming booze in and outside beer vends on Sunday night. While raids were conducted at-Sunil Beer Shop, Manoj Beer Shop and Nidhi Beer Shop, the owners were booked under section 68 of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act, 1949 for using any place as a common drinking house.
“Our teams have been instructed to keep a check to control the menace.” said Desai. While the police swung into action mode, officials from the excise department have chosen to remain mute spectators to the illegal activities.
As per legal experts, the crime also attracts section 112 and 117 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 against the tipsy patrons and section 33(w) read with 131 of the same act against owners for breaching license rules and playing an active role in encouraging the illegalities, thus posing law and order problems. Mocking the law, several beer shop owners had brazenly transformed their retail dispensing outlets into mini bars by allowing tipplers to use their premises for the consumption of spirits. This is in clear violation of rules laid down by the state government authorities while issuing permits issued under the F.L.BRII category which allows sale of beer or wine or both in sealed bottles for off-consumption.
Apart from drunken brawls which are a regular affair, pedestrians especially women are compelled to face the menace of guzzlers. Moreover minors are also being served with alcoholic drinks.