Hookah bar owner gets 3 years in jail for selling tobacco to minors


GURGAON: The owner of a hookah bar in the city was on Friday awarded three years in jail and fined Rs 1 lakh for selling tobacco to minors in a two-year-old case.

Chief judicial magistrate Gagandeep Mittal convicted Rahul Yadav, the owner of Kasba Bar and Snooker Point, after examining all evidence and witnesses.

“This is the first raid of its kind under the Drug Control Act, wherein a person has finally been convicted for serving hookah in a bar,” Amandeep Chauhan, drug control officer, told TOI.

The bar did not have a licence to serve hookah after the Gurgaon administration had invoked Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to stop hookah bars, saying they were serving tobacco molasses containing nicotine which is injurious to health, especially to college students and youths. Besides, sale of tobacco products to minors is also banned under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.

The case was filed at the Civil Lines police station on June 7, 2014, following a raid on the bar located at the Sector 14 market where 25 minors were found smoking hookah on April 8, 2014. Around 100kg of tobacco, of 10 different flavours, and hookah pipes were also recovered from the spot. The minors were released with a warning. But Yadav was arrested later, on the basis of a complaint lodged by then drug control inspector Pooja Chaudhary and drug control officer Chauhan, who had led the raid.

Earlier, the police had arrested the bar’s manager Prakashchand Verma during a similar raid in August 2013. In an order passed on May 12 last year, the court had directed to merge the two cases registered against the bar. Yadav was booked under various sections of the Drug Control Act and Section 188 of the IPC (violation a government order). Verma was declared a proclaimed offender in the case.


* This article first appeared in the Times of India.