The Banjara Hills police said that they seized five packets from manager Mahadaram Anil Kumar's counter. (Representational Image/ Pixabay)
Hyderabad: Prior to the Task Force police raiding the Pudding and Mink pub at Radisson Blu on Sunday night, customers inside the pub had consumed as many as 37 cocaine packets. Some 148 customers including 38 women had been detained and then released at night itself. Some of them were said to be linked to VIPs. Only two arrests were made.
The Banjara Hills police said on Monday that they seized five packets from manager Mahadaram Anil Kumar's counter. The 148 customers were released without collecting their blood samples, as "this was a high-profile case," cops said and admitted that samples were collected from only two persons, Anil Kumar and pub partner Abhishek Vuppala. They were later remanded to police custody.
During wee hours on Sunday, the customers were escorted out by police officials and women police till Banjara Hills gate. The police had already sealed the pub. During a search of the premises, cops seized a registered agreement stating that one Arjun Veeramachineni (absconding) was among the owners of the pub.
Forensic laboratories reports confirmed that the five seized sachets contained pure cocaine.
Interestingly, excise superintendent Naveen Kumar said that in the excise rule book, "there is nothing called a 24/7 pub." Abhishek Vuppala had managed to procure a special bar licence that comes under category 2B, which is only issued to star hotels and gives permission to run 24 hours. They were meant for foreign tourists, he said.
"There is no ‘pub’ in our rule book. The 2B licence is a generic licence issued to star hotels. It is permitted to operate 24/7 while the same 2B licence is given to wine shops," assistant excise superintendent Kumar who is now superintendent of excise in Yadadiri said.
He said bar licences to star hotels are issued by the commercial tax department. "We are only where the liquor is sold. People procure 2B licences for sale of liquor. A dancing hall cannot be called a pub, they are simply dancing bars," he said.
"Our men are constantly keeping a watch on all the 40 pubs in West zone. Stringent action will be taken against pub owners, customers or anybody involved in the sale and purchase of drugs," said Joel Davis, deputy commissioner of police.
"Initially, we suspected that the packets contained cocaine. Forensic tests confirmed this. Then we started questioning the accused," he said. "Special teams have been formed to nab the main-accused Arjun Veeramachineni. Until we get him, we cannot conclude where the cocaine was procured from," he said.
A senior cop said that, during the interrogation, pub manager Mahadaram Anil Kumar and the other arrested, Abhishek Vuppala, did not state as to from where the drugs had come and how the cocaine packets were lying on the manager's counter.
"The document stated that the General power of Attorney (GPA) has the legal power to appoint the staff for maintaining the pub. Absconding Arjun Veeramachineni as also Abhishek Vuppala are partners, but as per the GPA Arjun had prime powers. He had purchased the pub from Tejeshwini a few years back," police sources revealed.