Mumbai police file first FIR post hookah ban

Kandivli police raided 'Chilly and Spice' restaurant on Sunday and arrested six people

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Mumbai Police has lodged the first FIR after implementing a ban on hookah parlours that have come into effect in the state from October 4, 2018.

On Sunday, Kandivli police raided Chilly and Spice, a restaurant in Kandivli, and arrested six people. Of the arrested were restaurant owner Shabbir Shaikh, manager Debu Shah and waiters Mumtaz Shaikh, Santosh Yadav, Mahadev Yadav, and Santosh Yadav. According to the police, if found guilty, they will face a fine of ₹1 lakh and imprisonment of up to three years.

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An amendment to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003, has made running hookah parlours a non-bailable offence.

On Thursday, October 4, 2018, the state government issued a notification introducing a blanket ban in the state with immediate effect.

After Gujarat, Maharashtra is the second state in India to impose such a ban. The home department was planning to regulate hookah parlours, but Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis insisted on a blanket ban post-Kamala Mills fire that broke out in December 2017 which killed 14 people.

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When the fire brigade published a report, it showed that the fire was triggered by the ambers of a hookah pot that flew into the flowing curtains of the restaurant. 

The police informed that Chilly and Spice was raided after the zonal DCP received information about hookah being served at the restaurant. A senior officer said that the restaurant would lock its front door and would let customers in through the kitchen.

The day the raid was carried out, policemen posing as customers entered the premises. After confirming that hookah was being sold and counting the number of hookah pots served on the premises, the decoy cops informed the raiding party, who forcefully opened the shutters and the police swooped in.

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