Exclusive: Hyderabad police to issue 'summons' to regular Pudding & Mink guests, blood tests to follow

Greed helped cops get access to Pudding and Mink. The pub management allows only certain guests, but recently they became greedy. Let me explain, the days when the club is full and in business, they don't allow non-members. However, on days when the business is dull, if two or three tag along with the guest, the pub grants them entry. The same happened on 3 April. As part of the clues, certain loopholes of the pub were gathered.

By Coreena Suares  Published on  5 April 2022 4:15 PM GMT
Exclusive: Hyderabad police to issue summons to regular Pudding & Mink guests, blood tests to follow

Hyderabad: Seventy-two hours into robust investigation of the Pudding & Mink drug bust, a top cop told NewsMeter that the Hyderabad police will soon issue 'summons' to a few regular guests of the pub and will conduct blood tests (quoted verbatim).

Meanwhile, the Banjara Hills police probing the case will move the court on 6 April seeking police custody of the pub owner, Vuppala Abhishek, and hotel manager Anil Kumar, currently under remand.

On 3 April, the task force raided Pudding & Mink, the pub at Radisson Blu Hotel on Road No. 6, Banjara Hills, after receiving credible information that it was open at 1:40 a.m and that there was a huge crowd and some guests were doing drugs.

What followed was a raid at 2 a.m where cops found more than 140 persons consuming liquor on the premises. During checks, five small packets containing a white powder, suspected to be cocaine, were found in one of the plastic containers used to hold drinking straws on the bar counter.

A case under sections 8(c), 22(b), and 29(1) of the NDPS Act was booked against hotel manager Anil Kumar and pub owners Abhishek Vuppala and Arjun Veeramachineni. While Anil and Abhishek have been sent to remand, Arjun is absconding. While former MP Renuka Chowdhary's Son-in-law Kiran Raju has been made the fourth accused in the case following the Pub agreement document.

NewsMeter spoke to a senior investigating officer who revealed details about the decoy operation but has requested anonymity.

Pudding & Mink gives access to their guests via an app that generates a code for each customer and which they use to enter the pub. How did cops again access?

A: Based on credible information, the task force sleuths recced the pub for a month and on 3 April conducted a 'decoy operation'. Greed helped cops get access to the place. The pub management allows only certain guests, but recently they became greedy. Let me explain, the days when the club is full and in business, they don't allow non-members. However, on days when the business is dull, if two or three tag along with the guest, the pub grants them entry. The same happened on 3 April. As part of the clues, certain loopholes of the pub were gathered.

(According to the police, the partners of Pudding & Mink allow only an elite few customers and their guests access to their pub. They run the pub till the early hours. The pub has an app that generates a code for each customer and the customers can access the pub only by entering the code at the main entrance)

Is this the only pub the sleuths recced?

A: There are clear directions from Chief Minister K. Chandra Shekar Rao to eradicate drug menace in Telangana. The CM held a series of meetings with the police and the Excise and Prohibition department. A separate meeting was also held by minister V. Srinivas Goud with the pub owners apart from setting up a different wing to investigate the drug cartel. Task force cops conducted a recce of five pubs in Hyderabad jurisdiction. The cops have gathered 'bad elements' operating in these pubs.

Why were certain VIP names like Tollywood actress Niharika Konidela deleted from the list?

A: The guest list was leaked by the low staff . It was not even an accurate list. I personally don't acknowledge it. The investigating officers besides the raid and guests under detention where also handling other administrative work on the day Banjara hills SHO was suspended.

(It is to note that, among the 150 detained was Mega family member and Tollywood actress Niharika Konedila, Singer and Big boss winner Rahul Sipligunj, former Congress MP's son Arvind Kumar Yadhav, TDP MP's son Siddartha Galla, kin of a senior IPS officer serving in Andhra Pradesh and many other businessmen, besides four foreign nationals)

Owner Vuppala Abhishek is the son of BJP leader Vuppala Sarada, while Kiran Raju is the son-in-law of former MP Renuka Chowdhary. Were the police aware of their political background?

A: The four, including the manager, have been booked based on the documentary evidence. It was only through the media we came to know of their extended family. Kiran Raju is the agreement holder from 2017 to date. On 4 April, over six lawyers were present from the accused's side. However, based on the public prosecutor's argument, the two – Anil and Abhishek – were sent to remand. On 7 April, the Banjara Hills police will file a police custody petition for five days of interrogation.

Did the owner cooperate during the initial questioning?

A: No, Abhishek didn't. The police are working on a few leads collated during the questioning. As part of the investigation, we are verifying certain data, list of regular guests, and a history of habitual offenders. A few pieces of evidence have been sent to the forensic laboratory and they will be verified on the basis of the reports. Cops are also working on tracking the source of drugs.


Show cause notice issued

The Telangana Excise and Prohibition department had first indefinitely suspended the license of Pudding & Mink and has now sent show cause notice, asking them why their license should not be cancelled.

Speaking to NewsMeter, a senior official from the Excise and Prohibition department said, "The special license granted to five-star hotels allows them to operate 24x7. However, since banned substances (4.64 gms of cocaine) were found in the pub during the raid, this has attracted violation under the Bar Rules. Stage 2 of the case will be issuing the pub management a show cause notice, asking them why their license should not be cancelled. Based on their explanation, action will be taken. For now, the license has been suspended, indefinitely. Cancelation will take one-week due process."

According to a document in possession with NewsMeter, the management of Pudding & Mink paid Rs 52.66 lakh for license as part of its annual fee and Rs. 14 lakh as Excise tax. The license has been granted in the name of Kasibatta Ashok to sell Indian-made foreign liquor (2B license).




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