Bengaluru: In what has dampened the spirits of several members of the iconic Bangalore Club, its bars went totally dry from Tuesday afternoon. At the centre of a controversy in the last few days, the club’s excise licence has been suspended for a month.
The suspension raises a question over this year’s New Year eve celebrations at the club as the suspension order issued by Bangalore Urban District Commissioner V. Shankar on Tuesday holds till midnight of January 1, 2015. However, club authorities, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they would challenge the order with the Excise Commissioner, who is the appellate authority.
Excise Department had on November 24 raided the liquor-serving counters on the club premises and issued a show cause notice to the club under the Karnataka Excise Act, 1965. While there was no official complaint filed against the club’s excise policy, the raids were conducted based on “media reports” following an altercation between a senior police officer’s driver and a club security guard, according to sources in the Excise Department.
Following the raids, a notice served on two counts of violations of the Karnataka Excise Act, one that the club had license to serve liquor at only one counter, but in practice served liquor at multiple counters on the premises and had also sub-let its license to two other firms, which is considered a violation.
Mr. Shankar said the club was given seven days time to respond. “The club has only sought more time to respond and hence we have gone ahead and suspended its license for a month,” he said. Officials visited the club on Tuesday afternoon and seized all liquor stocked at the two outlets – China Bowl and Flavours – on the club premises.
Meanwhile, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike authorities have served notice to Bangalore Club as it has licences for only 8 of the 17 trades on its premises and it is using 800 HP power while it has licence to use only 10 HP power. Besides that the club is yet to respond to notice served earlier seeking its land records. In a related development, BBMP is likely to impose fine on the club for displaying tobacco products in violation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.