Police personnel sealing Three Palms Resort in Bathinda on Sunday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Police personnel sealing Three Palms Resort in Bathinda on Sunday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Covid norms’ violations: Resort owner arrested, still no action against VIP guests

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has accused the police of trying to protect the family members of finance minister Manpreet Badal who were also present at the event
By Vishal Joshi, Bathinda
UPDATED ON APR 25, 2021 11:24 PM IST

Police on Sunday arrested the owner of a luxury resort for breaching Covid protocols, conveniently turning a blind eye on those who had attended the event to celebrate the installation of first Congress mayor of Bathinda on Friday.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has accused the police of trying to protect the family members of finance minister Manpreet Badal who were also present at the event.

Thermal police station in-charge Ravinder Singh said there was no evidence on who attended the party at Three Palms Resort, 6km away from Bathinda city. “After an input, I had visited the spot on Friday evening and did not find any person there. The attendees had probably left by the time we reached. It was found that the resort owner Rajeev Kumar had thrown another party after 9pm in violation of Covid-19 rules. He was arrested on Sunday and the resort was sealed,” said the SHO. No other person was named in the FIR. Rajeev was held under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and 51 Disaster Management Act. Rajeev could not be contacted for his comments.

On Saturday night, the SHO had stated that the cars parked at the resort actually belonged to the staff. Senior deputy mayor Ashok Pradhan had confirmed to the media, that most of the 43 Congress councillors and party leaders had a brief social gathering after he, the mayor and deputy mayor assumed their offices on Friday. Pradhan had stated the event was hosted by Sandeep Goyal, the husband of mayor Raman Goyal.

As photos and videos of the party were being shared widely on social media since Friday night, the police continued looking the other way. Bathinda range inspector general of police (IGP) Jaskaran Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) BS Virk did not respond to the phone calls of journalists who had gathered outside the resort and tried to flag the issue. Virk did not respond to the calls from Friday night till Saturday. “We are trying to identify who all violated Covid guidelines,” Virk said on Sunday afternoon.

Former chief parliamentary secretary Sarup Chand Singla said photographs of Manpreet’s son Arjun Badal and the minister’s brother-in-law Jaijeet Johal, who manages Manpreet’s all political activities in Bathinda, in the media show them at a packed venue.

“Instead of taking action on the basis of media reports based on councillors’ statements, the police are busy hushing up the matter. The CCTV footage from the resort should have been accessed to nail the violators,” said Singla.

Manpreet’s media coordinator Harjot Sidhu did not respond to the query. Former mayor Balwant Rai Nath said it was unfortunate that the newly elected team of the municipal corporation indulged in such an unlawful activity on the very first day in office. “Police was quick in arresting eight people for hosting a pre-wedding function at Bathinda’s Civil Lines Club on Wednesday. In this case, the police are under political pressure and ignoring even the photographic evidence that are in the public domain,” said Nath.

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