Faridabad police arrested a 29-year-old man on Wednesday from NIT area for allegedly selling banned hookahs from his confectionary shop over the past several months.
Police recovered 309 boxes of nicotine, tobacco, seven hookahs, 30 chillams (a water pipe that contains the substance to be smoked, such as tobacco or hashish), 100 coils, 35 hookah pipes and 24 boxes of charcoal.
Amit Yashwardhan, deputy commissioner of police (NIT), said they had received a tip-off on Wednesday and they formed a team and conducted a raid at the confectionary shop. “The owner, identified as Savan Kumar, a resident of NIT, had set up a shop on the ground floor of his house. He was selling banned hookahs secretly for the past several months and used to charge ₹4,500 for a big hookah and ₹1,500 for smaller ones,” he said.
Yashwardhan said the number of customers had increased ahead of Diwali as people have started organising parties and the demand gets high during the festival season. “He stored all the illegal and banned items inside a room, which he keeps locked. On the pretext of selling confectionaries, he was selling nicotine, flavours for hookahs and all sizes of hookahs,” he said.
Police said their teams are on high alert during the festival season to keep a check on illegal sales of banned firecrackers, spurious liquor, hookahs and other items, besides gambling parties.
Yashwardhan said this was the first such raid after the imposition of the ban on the commercial use of hookah in the district. It was conducted following complaints and reports of sale of the material used in hookah bars.
A case under Section 270 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 4, 5, 21,22 of COTPA ACT 2003 and Sections 2,5,6 of Poison Act 1913 was registered at Kotwali police station on Wednesday, said police.
Police said that hookahs, earlier served with tobacco molasses at bars, were banned by the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2016. The Faridabad administration enforced Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to ban hookah bars in the district in February 2017 with the aim of making the region nicotine-free.