INDIA. Mumbai: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Sunday sent a legal notice to Congress leaders Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh, Netta D’ Souza, and Congress over remarks on her 18-year-old daughter and asked them to tender a written unconditional apology and withdraw the allegations with immediate effect.
“No notice has been served upon her daughter Zoish Irani by the Goa Excise department, and this is an attempt to tarnish the name of the family,” she said.
Although the minister in a media conference had claimed that her daughter was not involved in running the bar, in her interview with food specialist Kunal Vijaykar, she was seen discussing the future plans of the Cafe and Bar.
No sooner did the controversy erupt on Saturday than the Iranis covered the word “bar” on the signboard with black tape. But Goa Youth Congress activists reached the venue and removed the tape restoring it to its original position. They also demanded that the bar be closed and handed over the lock and key brought by them to the police.
The protest outside the SillySoul Cafe & Bar at Bhouta Vaddo in Assagao village was led by Goa Youth Congress president Varad Mardolkar and state unit spokesman Amarnath Panjikar. They demanded that the establishment be shut down immediately.
Speaking to the Transcontinental Times, Panjikar said Irani could not run away from her responsibility by striking an emotional chord and that she had to respond to the allegation. Irani was holding senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi responsible for the illegality done by her family members. He demanded that action be initiated against the restaurant and those involved in the illegality.
Advocate Aires Rodrigues said that the Goa Excise Commissioner has rightly issued a show cause notice to the up-market Silly Souls Café and Bar allegedly run by the Irani family over the illegally obtained Liquor licenses. There needs to be a thorough inquiry into this alleged fraud which Irani’s family orchestrated in conjunction with Excise officials and the local Assagao Panchayat.
The Excise rules in Goa allow a bar license to be issued only to an existing restaurant. However, on February 18, 2021, the department, in rank violation of law, issued a license for the retail sale of foreign liquor for consumption on the premises along with another license for the retail sale of Indian Made Foreign Liquor and Country liquor to the outlet. These liquor licenses were issued without a restaurant license, as required by law.
The Excise department issued the licenses in the name of one Anthony Dgama, who, as per the Aadhaar card, shows that he was a resident of Vile Parle in Mumbai and that the Aadhaar was issued on December 30, 2020. The Excise licenses were issued for this sprawling 1200 sq. mts plush premises without any verification.
On June 29, the local Excise office, in contravention of law, renewed those licenses in the name of Anthony Dgama despite he passed away on May 17, 2021, as per the death certificate issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
“The show cause notice issued by the Excise Commissioner has been served on the Bar & Restaurant, so at the hearing on July 29, we would know about the ghost who runs the show. Those in power should not dare hoodwink the authorities as the long arm of the law catches up, slowly but surely. There must also be a probe into the legality of all properties, including the benami ones bought in Goa by Irani and other central leaders. It’s time to say that enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, in response to the bar scandal, there were several witty remarks against the BJP, a protagonist of Hindutva, saying, “Beef, pork, mutton, chicken, fish, beer, whiskey, rum, gin & all other types of foreign & desi liquor are available in this BJP sanskari restaurant & liquor bar in Goa. Jai Ho”.
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