The Central Crime Branch police carried out simultaneous raids in seven pubs reportedly running live bands and discotheques in the central business district of Upparpet and Gandhinagar on Saturday night.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Labhu Ram said the owners of the bars, the managers and disc jockeys had been booked. Over 240 women reportedly employed for live performances were taken into police custody and sent to government homes for women.
The police named Rajadhani, Aishwarya, Sky Heaven, Saki, Kajol, Port of Pavilion and Blue Heaven bar and restaurants as the places raided. They had been booked for not only violating excise rules, but also those about playing music without permission.
“This is just the beginning; we are going to carry out raids and inspections across the city whenever we find violations,” a police official said. The drive was to keep the city free from the “nuisance” of live bands and to maintain law and order, he added.
According to the police, the 240 women, who hail from different parts of the country, were employed by bar owners to “entertain clients” although they were officially employed as bartenders. This was “in violation of excise rules”, the police said.
However, Jeevan B.N. of Kajol Bar and Restaurant accused the police of harassing his employees, especially the women.
He claimed the police dismantled the CCTV cameras and verbally abused the women. “We were playing noise within permitted levels. What happened on Saturday night was complete harassment.”