Two persons were arrested on Sunday after a raid on an elite Hyderabad pub, where white powder suspected to be cocaine was found, police said.
Tollywood actor Naga Babu’s daughter and actor Niharika Konidela and singer Rahul Sipligunj were among more than 100 people briefly detained by police during the raid on Pudding & Mink Pub at Radisson hotel in posh Banjara Hills.
While pub manager Mahadaram Anil Kumar and partner Abhishek Vuppala were arrested, third accused Arjun Veeramachineni was absconding, police said.
The raid was conducted after police received credible information that the pub was running at 1.40 a.m. with a huge crowd and some drugs were also consumed by some of the customers.
The Task Force, along with local police, raided the pub at 2 a.m. hours and found more than 100 persons consuming liquor in the pub. On thorough checking of the premises, five small packets containing white powder suspected to be cocaine were found in one of the plastic containers used for holding drink straws present on the bar counter in the custody of its manager Anil Kumar.
“The partners of the Pudding & Mink Pub allow only a few selected elite customers and their guests to have access to their pub with the sole intention of earning money and they run the pub till the early hours (4 a.m.) An app is being maintained wherein a code is generated for each customer and the customers can have access to the Pub only by entering the code at the main entrance,” police said.
A case under Section 8(c), 22(b) and 29(1) of NDPS Act was registered at Banjara Hills police station and investigation was taken up by the inspector.
Those found partying also include daughter of a former Director General of Andhra Pradesh Police and a son of an MP belonging to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and children of some other well-known personalities.
As the police found some packets of suspected cocaine, all those present in the pub were whisked away to the nearby Banjara Hills police station, where they were questioned.
Ironically, singer and winner of Big Boss Telugu reality show Rahul Sipligunj, who was among those detained, was part of “Drug-free Hyderabad” campaign launched by the police. He sang a song as part of the campaign.
Meanwhile, Naga Babu issued a video statement clarifying that though her daughter Niharika was present there, she had done nothing wrong. He said the police have made it clear that she was not at fault. “Our conscience is clear,” said Naga Babu, who is brother of superstar Chiranjeevi.
He appealed to both social and mainstream media not to spread “unwanted speculations” about Niharika.
Taking a serious note of these violations and the police station concerned failing to act, Hyderabad Police Commissioner C. V. Anand suspended Station House Officer of Banjara Hills Police Station and issued a charge memo to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Banjara Hills, M. Sudarshan.
Action was taken against them afor their negligence towards their legitimate duties in the control of narcotics in pubs and bars.
The raid comes amid an intensified drive by the police against the drug menace. The recent death of an engineering graduate due to overdose of drug and the involvement of some educated youth and techies in drug peddling and consumption has alarmed the authorities.
The police and newly-formed Hyderabad Narcotics Enforcement Wing (H-NEW) is not only acting tough against peddlers but also booking cases against those found to be consuming the drugs.