Deaths in hotel: HC threatens to suspend Shimoga SP

Taking serious objection to the poor job by the Shimoga Superintendent of Police, the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday warned the State government that it will have to order the SP’s suspension for trying to cover up the incident of death of two persons while cleaning a septic tank at the Royal Orchid Hotel in Shimoga.

The Court directed that the hotel managing director (MD) be present before the court again.
Hearing a petition by the People’s Union of Civil Liberty (PUCL), seeking directions to ban manual scavenging and award compensation to the victims’ families, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna expressed its dissatisfaction over the way the FIR was filed by the Shimoga police, which said that the workers died after they entered the open air filter.

‘Total cover up’

The Bench lashed out at the government when counsel R G Kolle told the court that evidence is being collected. “This is a total cover-up by the police. There is no mention of death due to entering the septic tank. There are no details. There is a senior officer, a superintendent who has prepared the report. Is police role to protect the rich?,” the angry bench said.

Pointing out that it was a simple FIR, the Bench said, “Is this how the police record the statements? One FIR says they died due to entering the septic tank, another says open air filter. You have appointed these people by paying Rs 900. Time and again people are forced to enter septic tanks.”

The Bench further said, “It is a small manhole. Ask the MD to fall into it and try. Despite every attempt to prevent the practice, it still continues and we have the SP writing nonsense. We will order suspension of this man.” The matter has been adjourned.

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