Mumbai Police's social service branch, which is headed by hockey stick-wielding cop Vasant Dhoble
, raided a bar in suburban Mumbai on Friday night. The raid was conducted on Sangam Bar in Malad and the police say 14 bar girls were rescued and 28 customers and three employees of the bar were arrested. They have been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. This is the second raid on Sangam Bar in the last six months.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vasant Dhoble has come under criticism lately for attempting to clamp down on the city's night life. Earlier this week, industrialist Tehseen Poonawala filed a petition against Mr Dhoble on the issue of German girls being wrongly labelled as prostitutes. Mr Poonawala has called the controversial cop's action as "khaki talibanisation of Mumbai".
Mr Dhoble, however, has the backing of his boss, Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik. Mr Patnaik had earlier described Mr Dhoble as an officer with impeccable integrity. Over the last few months, ACP Dhoble has been cracking down on establishments that he says flout norms. Last month, nearly 1000 people marched on Carter Road in Bandra to protest against him.
Earlier, two sisters, who were booked under the Prevention of Illegal Trafficking Act (PITA), had filed a defamation suit against Mr Dhoble in the Bombay High Court. In their plea, they had demanded a compensation of Rs. 2 crore from the senior police officer for defamation and wrongful detention. The complainants were booked under PITA after a raid on June 4 by Mr Dhoble's team at a restaurant in suburban Mumbai. The High Court ruled that he was just doing his job, and also dismissed a defamation case against him. The court had also said that the petition was too premature to decide upon as a lower court was already hearing the sisters' plea for their early release from a remand home.