EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 4, 2013

Raagini Indian Bistro liquor license suspension appeal hearing set for December

By Bill Kirk

---- — ANDOVER — Raagini Indian Bistro has appealed a 30-day liquor license suspension meted out by the Board of Selectmen earlier this year.

Acting as the Licensing Board, Andover Selectmen in June ordered the suspension after police alleged that the manager had served liquor after hours to a 17-year-old girl.

The restaurant, at 209 N. Main St. in the Shawsheen Plaza, remains open for business and continues serving liquor pending its appeal, scheduled for Dec. 11 in the Boston offices of the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

On Monday night, the Board of Selectmen held a closed-door session to discuss the town’s case against the restaurant.

Town Counsel Tom Urbelis said he needed to update the board on the latest developments in the case. It is unclear what prompted the executive session, which wasn’t on the selectmen’s agenda, or why Bill Fahey, executive director of Andover Youth Services, took part in the meeting.

Fahey, Urbelis and selectmen all declined to comment on the closed session except to say it was needed to go over litigation in the case. The manager of the restaurant, Jaspreet “Jessi” Pabla, also declined to comment.

Police alleged that on March 21, Pabla brought a 17-year-old former employee into the restaurant after-hours and served her liquor.

Detective Patrolman Peter Reming said in a May 10 report that the information came to light while he was investigating another matter.

“On April 22, 2013, while conducting an investigation into another incident, an ex-employee of Raagini Indian Bistro (name redacted), 17 years old, reported that Jaspreet (Jessi) Pabla, one of the owners, had served her alcohol at the restaurant on March 21, 2013 after the business had closed.”

Andover police spokesman Lt. Edward Guy said “there was a separate investigation involving this male (Pabla) and this female.” No charges have been filed in connection with the other investigation, which has been closed. He said he could not comment on specifics because of the “sensitivity of that incident.”

He added, however, “Activity had been going on after-hours, which was brought to our attention. It happened multiple times. Det. David Milne investigated and found out it had been going on for some time.”

Ultimately, however, police brought only one liquor violation against the establishment.

The Board of Selectmen, in its capacity as the town’s Licensing Board, voted 4-1 on June 17 to suspend the restaurant’s license for 30 days after its 24-year-old manager, Pabla, admitted giving alcohol to a 17-year-old female employee.