In a sting operation conducted by IndiaScoops.com against illegal hookah joints in Mumbai, we found that The Stadium Bar, located on the 3rd Floor of the DLH Park, Near the MTNL Signal on Swami Vivekanand Road (S V Road), at Goregaon West, is openly flouting rules and laws and operating in a blatant manner, without the requisite permissions and licenses.
IndiaScoops.com which conducted a sting on the venue has videos recorded with a spy cam and has video evidence to substantiate all the allegations made below.
Firstly the joint is open till 4 am or even 4.30 am on weekends, which to the best of our knowledge is not permitted.
Secondly, The Stadium Bar serves hookah in the dining areas, which is prohibited by law. The law requires that hookah is served in a clearly demarcated and secluded area, which does not serve food or eatables.
Tobacco products cannot be served to persons below 21 years of age, but The Stadium Bar has scant respect for this rule. It serves hookah to youngsters who are barely 18 years old and some of them even 17, but those who may look over 18.
“When police visit The Stadium Bar located on the 3rd floor, for inspection, the bouncers on the ground floor of the building inform the staff on the 3rd floor using walkie-talkies, who promptly hide the hookah pots in the washrooms and even in the ladies’ loos,” a source who is a regular at the venue, told IndiaScoops.com, adding, “Of course, the police inspection is an eye-wash, as the cops are taken care of.”
There is no system to check ID cards of those consuming hookah at the venue. The bouncers do random checks at times, which is only an eyewash, a regular at the venue told us.
When the local police visit the place for inspection, the hookah pots are hidden in the service store-rooms, the passageways and even in the ladies toilets.
Female attendants and cleaning staff promptly pick up the hookah pots and stash them in the ladies toilets – a place that the police would normally never look at.
The Stadium Bar is located on the 3rd floor of the DLH Park complex. It has bouncers placed strategically on the roads leading to the DLH complex as well as in the compound on the ground floor, all armed and equipped with walkie-talkies.
As soon as a police party or even the inspecting officer is spotted arriving, the bouncers at the entrance on the ground floor alert the staff on the 3rd floor who immediately hide the hookah pots in the bathrooms.
The inspecting officer walks into the bar and walks out – his wallet a bit heavier of course.
The Stadium Bar is open till 4 am and even till 4.30 am on special holidays, which is not permitted by law. There is no check on ID cards and even minors are sometimes served hookah, our source told us.
Sources claim the resto-bar does a business of Rs 5 to 10 lakh on weekends, which goes up to Rs 15 lakh on prime days and special holidays. The local police as well as the DCP’s office and other senior zonal police officials are of course taken care of by the owners of the venue, claims one source.
IndiaScoops.com contacted the Goregaon Police Station but officials were not willing to comment about the venue.
The only statement was ‘we will look into your allegations’. However one official who spoke to IndiaScoops.com on condition of anonymity said the venue does not have the requisite licenses to serve hookah and is doing so against the law.
“There is tremendous pressure from our seniors to ignore the place and not act against it, the police official said, adding that two senior politicians who are regular visitors to The Stadium Bar are also allegedly supporting the venue.
The concerned zonal DCP was not available for comment, when IndiaScoops.com contacted the DCP’s office. The DCP’s office refused to share the official’s mobile numbers with us.
IndiaScoops.com tried its best to contact the owners of The Stadium Bar for comment, but we were stonewalled. If we receive any feedback, we will incorporate it in this post. We can be contacted at mail.indiascoops at gmail.com.