Bihar Urban Development and Housing Minister Suresh Kumar Sharma and two of his bodyguards were allegedly manhandled by the employees of a hotel in Tarapith (West Bengal) on Monday afternoon following an altercation over the refund of booking charges.
Sharma had arrived in Tarapith to offer prayers at the famed Tarapith temple. “We had booked two rooms — one air-conditioned and another four-bed room. The rooms were not up to our expectations,” the minister’s personal secretary Sanjiv Kumar said.
“When we asked for better rooms, the employee at the reception misbehaved with the minister. We then decided to leave the hotel and asked for a refund of the booking charges. This led to an altercation, following which the hotel employees manhandled the minister. Two of his security guards were injured,” Kumar claimed.
The manager of the hotel Sunil Giri said the trouble began when Sharma slapped an employee Pranab Manna at the reception after the latter refused to refund the minister’s money in cash.
He added that Manna told the minister that since the booking was done online, the money could only be refunded only online. Other employees alleged that some people accompanying the minister damaged a computer at the reception. Giri said the hotel had footage of the entire incident.
Kumar said, “We had informed the Birbhum administration in advance as per protocol. I even called Birbhum police before reaching here. Despite this, there were no security arrangements for the minister.”
Kumar took up the matter with the Union Home Ministry and was reportedly advised to contact Birbhum superintendent of police N Sudhir Kumar.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called Sharma to inquire about the incident.