Mumbai: The Pune hotel raided by the police two days ago exposing a liquor party for over 600 minors is found to be owned by Jayant Pawar, cousin of Deputy Chief Minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar. The Pune city police had raided the Riverview Hotel on Saturday accompanied by parents to find over 800 school and college students dancing in pool -- majority of them in an inebriated state. Most of them were minors.
Police inspector Bhanupratap Barge said the drunk minors were handed over to their parents and those above 18 years were sent for medical test. The invitation for the party had been sent through SMS and social networking sites. Boys and men had an entry fee of Rs 400 while it was free for girls and women. The legal age for consuming alcohol is 25 in Maharashtra.
Barge said it was part of the hotels’ strategy to attract customers in non-peak hours in the afternoon as it was a convenient time for school and college students. “The hotels slash their entry fee and also liquor prices during ‘happy hours’. They also offer ‘bladder full blast’ in which a person can drink for free till he or she answer nature’s call. After urinating, the person will have to pay normal charges for the drink,” he added.
Hotel owner Jayant Pawar said the hotel had given the venue for an organiser who had claimed that about 150 guests would turn up. He said that the hotel served food and liquor was arranged by the organisers. “I was not there but was informed by my staff that more guests had turned up for the party. When we give out the hotel for party, we ask the organisers to not indulge in any illegal acts,” he said.
Pune-based social activist Ravindra Barhatte begs to differ. “Jayant Pawar was misleading when he says that the hotel did not knew that 800 would turn up for the party. The hotel had arranged food for over 800 guests and this can be done only with prior knowledge,” he said. He added that the police should also seize the surveillance tapes of the hotel to ascertain if such events had been organised in the past.