The Karnataka High Court on Thursday pulled up the Shimoga Superintendent of Police (SP) for his callous report on the facts related to the death of two persons due to asphyxiation while cleaning a sewage treatment plant pit of hotel Royal Orchid Central in Shimoga.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna expressed serious displeasure over the description of incident by the SP as he had stated in the report that two persons had died when they were “cleaning the filter tank in the hotel premises.”

“When those persons were engaged to go into the septic tank of the hotel’s sewage treatment plant for Rs. 900, how could the police in their first information report (FIR) record that they fell “accidentally” into the tank,” the Bench questioned.

The Bench said that one can imagine the fate of the case after trial when the FIR was written in such a manner indicating that they fell “accidentally” though these persons were specifically employed for going into the tank for cleaning it. How can you force a person to go into the septic tank, the Bench questioned.

“There is a total cover up by the police. The police are siding with the rich,” the Bench observed while indicating that it may not hesitate to order for suspension of the SP. The hotel has links with the family members of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Meanwhile, the government informed the Bench that Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh had been paid as compensation to the kin of Annappa and Rathnakar, respectively, who died in the incident.

While adjourning further hearing to Monday on the public interest litigation petitions complaining about deaths during cleaning of manholes, the Bench said the managing director of the hotel should be present during the next hearing as he was not present on Thursday.

  • Case pertains to death of two persons while cleaning a sewage treatment plant pit

  • FIR says they fell ‘accidentally’ into the pit