Hotel Mirana fiasco: The mystery of two rooms
The Mirana Hotel

Tinsukia: The Tinsukia Bar Association has reacted sharply on the “wishy-washy approach” of the district administration relating to the sealing case of ‘The Mirana’ hotel, calling for serious explanation from the administration, and hinting at foul play.

Why did executive magistrate Niluram Sarma not exercise his powers is something the administration needs to explain to the citizens, the Association said.

“If the administration wants to say that due to the District and Sessions Court order they have not sealed the hotel, they are simply misinterpreting the order for reasons best know to them,” Bar Association’s secretary and senior advocate Biswajeet Prasad told reporters here in Tinsukia, alleging that executive magistrate (EM) Niluram Sarma’s statement came in the afternoon when there was no court order at that point of time.

Advocate Prasad said it is shocking to see the administrative order to “seal” the hotel is yet to be executed more than three days after it was passed.

On June 12, the additional deputy commissioner had issued an order to “immediately” seal the hotel following recovery of a huge quantity of liquor without having a bar licence.

Slamming the district administration, advocate Prasad said, “If they (the district administration) can demolish something in such a hurry, on a holiday at 8.00 am, why can’t they seal a hotel in the present case with the same eagerness?” 

“Right to equality has been violated at a time when the law is the same for all and everyone needs to be treated through the same lens. The district administration has a lot to explain. Why two sets of action in similar cases?” he questioned.

Also read: Tinsukia administration demolishes restaurant it had raided recently

“We understand that in the other case someone had constructed hotel on government land. They could have registered an eviction case. What was such a hurry knowing that they were sitting there for months and years?” Prasad questioned.

“The District and Session Judge’s order came around 5 pm; it did not stay the sealing order by the administration,” Prasad said, adding, “It directed the additional deputy commissioner to reconsider the sealing order, which in simple terms mean that it is now on the discretion of the administration.” EastMojo was the first one to report this. 

The court directed the Additional Deputy Commissioner to reconsider the order of total closure or sealing of the hotel. However, it did not put a blanket stay on the sealing.

It may be noted that executive magistrate Sarma had gone to seal the hotel in the afternoon of June 13, a day after the sealing order was issued, but did not seal the hotel. When media questioned him, he said as the matter is sub judice, he cannot seal the hotel. “During preliminary hearing in the court, it has been said so,” Sarma added, raising questions that how did he know what transpired in the court during the hearing, since he was not present in the court.

Confirming the executive magistrate’s timing at ‘The Mirana’ hotel, journalist Biplop Chetia said the development happened between 1.00 and 2.00 pm. “When I requested Sarma to show the order copy he refused on the grounds that it is court’s matter, hence, cannot show it,” he added.

The question now arises is why was the officer reluctant to show the court order to the media at the spot and how could the copy of the order, which was passed around 5 pm as per Bar Association secretary, reach the hands of the officer before time.

Also read: Are the days of illegal constructions numbered in Assam’s Tinsukia? 

When the question was put to the president of Bar Association, Ranjit Borthatkur said, “A court order copy is something that is published, hence a public order. Neither there is any reason for which court order can’t be shown to the media, nor any law restricting government official from doing so. The court is open for all and anyone can go and hear the proceedings of the court. The court hearing is within the public hall, not in camera court.” 

Taking a dig at EM Sarma, Borthakur said, “From his statement it seem that Niluram Sarma lacks administrative knowledge.” 

He added that in the case of ‘The Mirana’ hotel, there was no reason for EM Sarma not to seal the hotel, sidelining another reason – a criminal case filed in this connection – that was cited before the media.

On June 11, the Tinsukia district administration had demolished The Apu’s restaurant and 13 other establishment on the outskirts of Tinsukia town on the grounds of illegal encroachment on government land. 

On June 2, a team led by an additional deputy commissioner and excise superintendent had raided the restaurant and recovered huge quantity of liquor without having a bar license. This was followed by few news channel running a news report that the raid took place following an argument over bill and telecast a CCTV footage showing one of the officer consuming alcohol, striking a major controversy.

The administration had immediately rubbished the news report saying it was a “planned” operation. 

Also Read | What stopped Tinsukia admin from sealing luxury hotel in ‘illicit liquor’ drive?

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