Mumbai: Amboli Bar and Kitchen, the swanky eatery in Andheri, has been in the eye of the storm, ever since local youths Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes lost their lives battling a bunch of goons outside its premises.
Speaking with Mid Day, its general manager Naveed Bhaiji shared his commiserations for the family, and confirmed that no CCTV footage of the horrifying incident had been recorded, owing to software problems.
He also claimed that his waiters and staff members were unaware that a heinous crime was being committed outside the premises, and helped as soon as they got wind of it.
"We have CCTV cameras in place, but unfortunately, they had been malfunctioning owing to some kind of software failure. So we failed to record the incident that took place on October 20. We have got it repaired, and have also appointed a guard to monitor the camera footage, so that the wellbeing of our guests is safeguarded in future. That is our priority," said Bhaiji.
Rushed to help
About the allegation leveled by the friends of the deceased that none of the staff members came forward to help them during the violent attack, Bhaiji explained, "Ours is an enclosed restaurant. By the time we realised what was happening, the damage had been done.
Everything happened so quickly. As soon as we got wind that one of the boys had been badly injured, one of our waiters pulled him inside the restaurant. He was rushed to the hospital immediately. We have been deeply disturbed by what happened, and have tried to do whatever we can to salvage the situation. We want to support the cause in whichever manner we can," he added.
According to the sources, cops had advised the restaurant owners to shut down for a week or so, but the owners decided to remain open, as it was a week of festivities.
Bhaiji admitted that business too had suffered a setback since the incident, saying, "We have suffered losses. But in the wake of such a tragedy, business is a secondary issue."
Speaking of the courage evinced by the two victims, he said, "They showed strength and courage in shielding their friends. This is commendable. The entire incident is very unfortunate. They were our regular guests, and very well behaved. We are doing all that we can do for the families of the deceased. It would not be right to comment any further."
On the fast track to justice?
Home Minister RR Patil said yesterday that the Amboli double murder case will be referred to a fast track court. "The government is in favour of a speedy trial and we have decided that it will be forwarded to the fast track court," he told reporters.
"We are also open to suggestions about the appointment of a lawyer. If the victims' families want any particular lawyer, we will certainly consider it," Patil said.
Asked about the public outrage fuelled by the brutal murder of the two youths, Patil acceded that he too was perturbed by the developments that led to the deaths.