Kochi: The upmarket No 18 Hotel in Fort Kochi repeatedly flouted rules despite the Excise Department initiating action against it, the district chief of the Excise Department has reported.
Former Miss Kerala winners and models Ansi Kabeer and Anjana Shajan had attended a DJ party in the hotel on October 31, before they were killed in a car crash around 1 am on November 1.
The report said the Excise Department had warned the hotel against serving liquor beyond the legally permissible time. The warning was issued after the department received complaints saying the establishment was flouting the rules.
The hotel, however, continued the practice despite being warned, the report said. The report would be handed over to the Commissioner of Excise on Thursday.
Hotel may lose bar licence
The Commissioner had asked for the report based on complaints regarding the functioning of the hotel. It has been found that the hotel had served liquor beyond the stipulated time on October 23 and later on October 31, the day on which the models attended the party.
The hotel's bar's licence was temporarily suspended following the breach of rules. It was learnt that the report has recommended the cancellation of the licence. The Excise department might interrogate Roy Joseph Vayalat, the hotel owner, in this regard.
An employee of Vayalat had earlier told the police that a hard disk, containing visuals from the hotel's CCTV cameras, was dumped into the lake from the Kannangattu bridge in Edakochi to hide the fact that liquor was served past the deadline.
Navy likely to join hard disk hunt
The hard disk has not yet been found, and the police were continuing their search for the storage device. Police had earlier searched the lake with the help of scuba divers from the Fire and Rescue Department, and later from the Coast Guard. Both attempts did not yield the desired result.
Meanwhile, a few fishermen claimed to have found the device from the lake, but tossed it back into the water since they could not identify it. Police have decided to seek the Navy's help to find the disk.
Saiju Thankachan still missing
Saiju M Thankachan, who reportedly tailed the car in which the models had left the hotel, has not appeared before the Crime Branch, despite he was issued a notice. The deadline to appear before the Crime Branch at the Kalamassery Metro Station would expire on Thursday. Police might issue an arrest warrant if he failed to present himself for questioning before the deadline.
Responding to Thankachan's anticipatory bail application, the State government informed the High Court of Kerala on Tuesday that he had not been arraigned as an accused, and that the police had no plans to arrest him. The court closed the case after recording the government version.
There were reports that Thankachan was involved in delivering drugs to city hotels. It has been suspected that he had gone into hiding to avoid appearing before the investigators.
Police have also launched a probe against the owner of the car, an Audi, in which Thankachan followed the models from the hotel. Abdul Rahman, who drove the car in which the models were travelling, told the police that he had accelerated the vehicle to shake off the tailing car.
While the models were killed instantly in the accident, their co-passenger Mohammed Ashique died a few days later. Rahman, who escaped with injuries, was arrested on November 8 for driving the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He was also booked under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.