Attending birthday party, 2 suffocate at tavern on Gurgaon’s Golf Course Road

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The owner of a popular tavern on Golf Course Road in Gurgaon and his friend were found dead inside a room at the tavern Monday evening, police said. Prima facie, police suspect that they died of suffocation after inhaling toxic fumes from an angithi meant to keep the room warm.

Police identified the deceased as Sanjeev Joshi and Ankita. Joshi ran ‘Knite Ryder’, a tavern-cum-restaurant near a rapid metro station on Golf Course Road, said police. Two more friends, both women in their 20s, were found unconscious in the same room and were rushed to a hospital, where their condition is stable, said police.

According to police, Joshi had invited his three friends to the tavern for a birthday party Sunday night. A police officer said, “To celebrate the birthday of one of the women, they had gathered at a room there for dinner. They ordered a cake, food and some liquor. Due to excessive cold as temperatures plunged during the night, they kept an angithi perched on a platform in the room to keep themselves warm.”

Police said the tavern’s owner and the women fell asleep on a sofa in the room late into the night. “The staff at the tavern left after closing the kitchen. On Monday afternoon, cleaning staff at the establishment’s restaurant arrived but assumed the owner and his friends were asleep in the room, so they did not bother or enquire. The room’s door was not bolted from inside. In the evening, one of the women in the room woke up in a semi-conscious state and alerted the staff. The people in the room were found in a sitting position on the sofa and some had vomited,” said the police officer.

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Police received information around 5 pm following which several police teams from DLF Phase 3 area rushed to the spot. A forensic team and a dog squad also arrived and collected samples.

Vikas Kaushik, ACP DLF, said, “Prima facie, it is suspected that two people died from suffocation after inhaling toxic fumes that had built up due to an angithi in the room. Two women were rushed to a hospital. One of them is unconscious while another is in a semi-conscious condition.”

“The room had been closed from all sides, the glass window was shut and there was no ventilation, police said. Due to the burning of coal, the oxygen flow into the room may have been reduced or cut off leading to suffocation. No injuries have been found on their bodies in the preliminary probe. A post-mortem will be conducted by a medical board on Tuesday to establish the cause of death,” he said.

Police said the victims were acquainted with each other and the probe did not suggest signs of foul play.

The statements of the families of the deceased are yet to be recorded, added police.

Ahatas/taverns — called ‘Anumat Kaksh’ in Haryana — are authorised drinking places located next to a liquor vend in urban areas. The taverns have to procure a licence from the Excise and Taxation departments. The taverns, colloquially called ‘BYOB — Bring your own Booze’ — typically have a multi-level restaurant and garden-style terrace.

According to the excise department, as many as 42 Anumat Kaksh are operating in Gurgaon as of 2022. Of the 42, 24 are in the east zone while 18 are in the west. In 2021-22, there were 30 Anumat Kaksh across the city — 21 in the east and 9 in the west.



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