Wednesday, September 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mayor ‘met woman’ in hotel room
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Sept 12 — Although a local BJP leader refuted allegations about a ‘misdemeanour’ by any of his party leader, the record of Hotel Sun City Towers shows that Mr Subash Sharma, Mayor, Municipal Corporation was a frequent inhabitant.

The guest registration register shows that room number 101 was booked on the direction of Mr Sarbjit Singh Raju, a partner of the hotel in the name of the mayor.

Circumstantial evidence, based on interviews with hotel staff and another partner of the hotel also speaks volumes about the events of August 13. However, the ‘city father’, Mr Subash Sharma claimed that the room was not booked under his name and he had not put his signature to it nor to any hotel bill.

But the hotel records tell quite another story. Thus the bill of the hotel dated August 13 shows that the mayor ordered of soda, peanuts, salad, chicken etc and the bill was credited to the account of Mr Sarbjit Singh Raju — a partner of the hotel.

The district police chief, Mr Parmpal Singh Sidhu has stated that a raid was conducted by a police party, headed by a DSP on the hotel during which the ‘mayor was found eating in a hotel room. He was accompanied by his wife and a female guest’. But representatives of various political parties say the police version is a cover up and the mayor is guilty of moral turpitude.

The hotel’s other partner, Mr Chatha confirmed that the room was booked in the name of mayor on the verbal request of Mr Sarbjit Singh Raju — his partner. He also confirmed that the mayor was frequent visitor to the hotel as the hotel record shows.

According to the record room number 203 was booked on the direction of Mr Sarbjit Singh for mayor on May 31 and a bill for Rs 553 was credited against the name of the owner. Room 301 was again booked on the direction of “Raju sir” for the mayor on June 10 and a bill of Rs 300 was credited to the account of Raju. The room number 201 was booked for the mayor on instruction of “Raju sir” on April 23 and again on July 31 and Rs 485 was credited to account of the partner. Room number 301 was booked for the “mayor party” on June 3 and a bill for Rs 370 credited. Mr Subash Sharma has, however refuted allegations that he was ‘caught’ in the hotel. He claimed that politicians had indulged in ‘dirty politics’ to defame the BJP as they were ‘jealous’ of the unprecedented’ development’ witnessed during his stint as mayor. He said the district police chief had already given him a ‘clean chit’ and allegations levelled against him were baseless.

It may be mentioned here that in each case the rooms were booked in the evening for a few hours, which is clear from the arrival and departure entries.

The hotel levies ‘retention charges’ for booking rooms for a brief period. As the hotel was booked in the name of a partner, about 30 per cent would be deducted from every bill as rebate. Interestingly the hotel receptionist, Naresh Kumar, who usually booked the rooms left the ‘job’ a few days after the ‘incident’.

Mr Chatha said he had sent many messages to his house but he had not turned even for collecting his wages. He is not coming to the hotel for obvious reasons, say insiders.

The DSP who conducted the raid on August 13 was in plain clothes. When he found the ‘Mayor’ in a compromising position, he talked to his superiors on the phone from the hotel reception. Though the staff at the hotel did hear the details of the conversation between the DSP and his superior yet it is suspected that he was ‘directed’ not to take any action against the city father. The police has remained tightlipped on the issue while the BJP and its mayor have vehemently denied the allegations.

Rashmi Talwar adds: In an attempt at avoiding public embarrassment the meeting of the corporation scheduled for tomorrow, September 13, has been postponed till September 18. It is learnt that the postponement is due to the threat by Congress councillors to raise the issue of the ‘amorous escapades’ of Mayor Subhash Sharma demanding his expulsion from the house and initiation of an inquiry against him.

Incidentally the last three months have not witnessed a single meeting of the house putting the brakes on development works. Meetings called for June 30 and July 10 and July 14 were all adjourned on various pretexts while meetings on August 31 and September 4 were similarly closed without any work being approved on one pretext or the other.

Meanwhile, there is speculation that after the Sunam Vidhan Sabha elections, BJP leaders may quit en masse to soften the blow for a possible resignation by Mr Sharma.

Defending the adjournment Mr Sharma said postponement of tomorrow’s scheduled meeting was done as more items were to be added to the agenda.

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