The investigation into a raid at Lahore’s popular Cafe Aylanto on MM Alam Road in September has held three of its waiters guilty.
According to a report in Dawn News, the police concluded the case by holding three waiters responsible after a joint raid was conducted by the excise department and police at the restaurant in September. The police have submitted the investigation report to the court for further proceeding. No further details regarding the incident have been shared as to why the waiters have been held responsible instead of the owner.
Cafe Aylanto was sealed on September 7 after a raiding party, led by Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) Masood Bashir Warraich and Model Town assistant commissioner, had claimed recovering imported liquor from the restaurant. An FIR [First Information Report] had been lodged and interestingly did not include the restaurant owner’s name and only 13 employees — mostly waiters — were arrested at the time. Several bottles of liquor were also seized and a criminal case against the outlet’s administration was lodged.
Warraich had earlier been accused of deliberately delaying the renewal of liquor licences of four hotels in Lahore after their managements allegedly refused to pay him 30 percent commission from daily liquor sales.
“I am being accused of corruption just because I implemented the rules,” Warraich had said while rejecting the claims, adding that before he took charge, all four hotels were selling over 100,000 liquor bottles each illegally every day which reduced to about 8,000 each after he intervened.
After the incident, Gulberg circle ASP Abdul Wahab and Warraich had been transferred from their position. However, later it was revealed that the officers had committed no violation and their transfers were politically motivated.
A source said that many in police circles believed that someone in Islamabad’s power corridors took up the matter, ensuring the officer’s ouster from Punjab knowing that he had committed no mistake.
The case was lodged against the café on an application submitted by excise inspector Akhtar Zaman Sindhu. Before taking action against the ASP, an impression was created that the contents of the first information report (FIR) were changed in favour of the café owner.
However, during the investigation, the allegations were proved false as the contents of the application and the FIR appeared the same, the source added.