TAMIL NADU

Show-cause notice may be served on hotel

L. Srikrishna

Police mull cancellation of Public Resort Licence



Police examining possibility of arresting a few more people

Once the PRL is cancelled, then more licences are likely to be cancelled



CHENNAI: A notice is likely to be issued to Hotel Savera asking the management to show cause why its Public Resort Licence (PRL) should not be cancelled for gross violation of the provisions of the licence, a senior police officer told The Hindu here on Tuesday.

A report in this regard has been forwarded by him to the Commissioner of Police, who is the issuing authority for PRL, the officer added.

On the eve of New Year, a stage made of wooden planks for the celebrations organised at the hotel collapsed in the last hour of 2007. While a 24-year-old software professional Sumith Agnihotri died within hours of the incident, two others Anand Sridharan and Ramya, both engineering students, succumbed to injuries in a private hospital here on Monday. Several people, who were participating in the celebrations, fell into the swimming pool beneath the stage when it collapsed, the officer, who did not want to be named, said.

The Public Resort Licence is mandatory as per the Madras City Police Act for conducting any public function or entertainment in a closed hall or auditorium or any place on the hotel premises. In the event of cancellation of the PRL, the hotel cannot conduct any more functions or organise entertainments, the officer explained.

Following the incident at the hotel, the Royapettah police registered an FIR under IPC Sections 337 and 338 against the stage contractor and the hotel management on December 31, 2007, based on a complaint filed by a colleague of Sumith Agnihothri.

In connection with the case, event manager Antony Michael, stage contractor’s representative Ravi and hotel licensee B.V.S.Reddy were arrested, while stage contractor Narendra Singh surrendered before the city court. All the accused were let out on bail by the court.

The officer added that the investigating authorities are examining the possibility of arresting a few more people of the hotel holding them responsible for the incident and invoking Section 24 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act 1937 (violation of licence conditions, which is non-bailable offence) and also IPC Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the accused.

Once the PRL is cancelled, then more licences issued by other authorities are likely to be cancelled, including the FL 3 licence (foreign liquor licence). As per the provisions of the FL 3 licence, liquor shall be served only in the permit room and for the inmates of the hotel. However, the hotel had served liquor near the swimming pool on the eve of New Year in which a large number of public had gathered, which is a gross violation of licence condition, the officer said.

The police can recommend its cancellation to the Commissioner of Prohibition and Excise, who issues the FL 3 licence.