MUMBAI: Even as the government has been repeatedly asking people to stay indoors during the pandemic, over a 100 people were partying at a lounge in Oshiwara throughout Saturday night. A police team landed up at the lounge, Bombay Brute, in the wee hours of Sunday.
Sixty-five male patrons were arrested besides a manager and three waiters. Twenty-eight female patrons were allowed to go home after being issued notices.
Photos circulating on messaging apps indicated that the partying crowd included a police officer from the western suburbs, dressed in civvies. He featured in some photographs shot by onlookers at the lounge. But he wasn’t among those arrested as he “was not present at the establishment when cops raided the place”.
Officials of Oshiwara police station acted on a tip-off that the lounge was violating lockdown guidelines. “Around 3.30 am, our team entered the premises. Some of the patrons were found dancing in an obscene manner. So, we have slapped charges of obscenity as well under the Indian Penal Code,” said a senior officer. Patrons found smoking hookah illegally were booked.
Some of the patrons told the police that they had received invites on WhatsApp about the lounge keeping its doors open throughout the night. The police will make inquiries with the owner of the establishment. “Patrons had come from all over the city. The crowd consisted of businessmen, professionals and students. Some had worn masks,” said an officer.
The 65 arrested customers were released on bail while the manager and waiters are still in police custody. “The female patrons weren’t arrested as it was a late hour. They were issued notices and summoned to the police station later,” an officer said.