Mumbai: The Bombay High Court directed the Thane rural district Superintendent of Police (SP) on Thursday to inquire into allegations of police officers being hand-in-glove with hookah parlour owners, observing that this is a more serious issue than such parlours still operating despite the government banning them in August last year.
The court also asked the Thane rural SP to submit an inquiry report by January 10.
"The hookah parlour menace is one aspect, but the more important issue is connivance of police officers with owners of such places," Justice Khanwilkar said.
A division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the NGO `Crusade Against Tobacco` claiming that hookah parlours operate in neighbouring Thane district despite a ban.
During the last hearing in November, the petitioner had alleged that the local police were trying to shield the owner of a hotel called `Hollywood-18` located at Thane`s Ghodbunder Road.
Vincent Nazareth of the NGO alleged that volunteers of the organisation spotted more than 100 youngsters smoking hookahs at the hotel in September 2012, but when they approached the local police, somebody from the police station tipped off the hotel management and as a result the hotel was cleared of all evidence, when the police raided the hotel.
Irked by this, the court directed Thane commissioner of police K P Raghuvanshi to appear before it today. The police chief who was present today told the court that the hotel falls under the jurisdiction of Thane rural.