The husband and wife administrators of the hugely popular “wining and dining” Facebook (FB) group, who fell afoul with the law recently, are now facing a criminal investigation into their sources of income.
The Excise Department has frozen the bank accounts of Ajith Kumar and Vineetha on the suspicion that they profited from organising liquor parties and promoting specific liquor brands through their group “Glassile Nurayum and Platile Curriyum-GNPC.”
18 lakh members
The forum’s name translates roughly as “foaming glass and curry on the plate.” It boasts 18 lakh members in India and abroad, mostly Keralites.
The group came into existence in May last as a food blog, with write-ups on partying, toddy shop dishes, cocktails and favourite drinking holes.
Last week, the FB collective found itself on the wrong side of the law, with the Excise booking the coordinators on charges of promoting underage drinking and public consumption of liquor.
Circle Inspector, T. Anil Kumar, the principal investigator in the case, said the accused had used the group to raise funds by organising liquor parties with free welcome drinks.
He said the accused had illegally used the FB group as a platform to promote specific liquor brands and subliminally encourage drinking in society by making alcohol consumption appear fashionable and socially acceptable.
The videos and photographs did not carry the statutory health warning that liquor consumption is injurious to health.
The Excise also spotlighted scores of pictures in the group, which showed adults drinking in the company of children, in some cases with infants.
‘Promotion of brands’
Mr. Anil Kumar said at least five liquor brands figured prominently in hundreds of partying and merrymaking videos and photos featured in the group.
He said the Excise would book liquor companies if evidence emerges that they had compensated the couple for the advertisement of their products.
More seriously, the State police on Tuesday filed First Information Reports (FIRs) against the couple on the charge of fomenting communal trouble.
Posts as proof
They submitted as evidence scores of posts that showed GNPC members drinking on tombs at the consecrated burial ground of a minority community, apart from communally provocative limericks that parodied famous sayings of revered spiritual leaders who taught abstinence.
The accused used the group as a platform to promote specific liquor brands and subliminally encourage drinking in society by making alcohol consumption appear fashionable and socially acceptable.
T. Anil Kumar
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