Officials of Hotel Shivalikview at Sector 17 seized an Audi and a Chevrolet Cruze of two guests who had allegedly failed to pay boarding bills. Rs 22 lakh was pending towards both of them following which the staff asked them to deposit the keys of their cars.
Hotel Shivalikview is run by Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO). CITCO Chief General Manager Uma Shankar Gupta told Chandigarh Newsline, “There has been a negligence on the part of officials also who allowed the two to stay on even as bills kept accumulating. The payment has to be in advance. We are looking into the matter.”
CITCO Managing Director Jitender Yadav has constituted a two-member committee to look into the lapses on part of the officials.
According to the hotel staff, on April 27, one Ramnik Bansal checked into room 427 as a walk-in guest. He gave his driving licence as ID proof which mentioned that his residence was in Hoshiarpur, Punjab. A month later, one Ashwani Chopra, who happened to be Bansal’s friend (according to hotel officials), checked into room 506 on May 23. Chopra gave his voter card as ID proof where his address was in Ludhiana, Punjab. Chopra was staying at the hotel with his wife and daughter.
Both said they were businessmen. Chopra said he had come to Chandigarh as he was planning to buy a house in Sector 8. Deputy General Manager of the hotel, Sudhir Chawla, said both the guests had cleared their dues till July 15 but stopped making any payment since then. “On July 18, Chopra’s wife suffered an asthmatic attack and passed away. Our front office team supported the grieving family. Thereafter, both Chopra and Bansal stopped making payments. Whenever we would ask them for their dues, they would say that they knew influential people of the city,” said Chawla.
The complaint lodged with the police for registration of FIR against the two stated, “On a couple of occasions, the staff received calls from an official of the Home Secretary’s office for not forcing the party to making payments.” On September 25, 26 and 29, Chopra gave three cheques of Rs 6 lakh each to the authorities and all of them bounced for reasons like insufficient balance and different signatures. He then sought further time till October 11 but didn’t make any payment.
“We did not hear anything from the other customer, Ramnik Bansal, either. On October 13, we saw him leaving the hotel in his Audi. So, we asked him to deposit his keys with us and then go wherever he wanted to. He has not returned till now. So, we became suspicious and asked Ashwani Chopra also to deposit his car keys,” added the official.
Chopra, who is still staying at the hotel, said he will clear his dues. When contacted by Chandigarh Newsline, Chopra said both his bank account and that of his wife were in Dubai. “If I had the intention of not clearing my dues, I wouldn’t have been staying in this hotel till now. After I told the bank in Dubai that my wife has passed away, they said it will take time to close her account as verification has to be carried out and transfer the funds here,” he said.
Bansal told Chandigarh Newsline that he has petitioned the Punjab and Haryana High Court charging the hotel authorities for making an excess bill and snatching his Audi. “There was a matter of excess billing at the hotel. They charged me double the amount of everything instead of the list price. Now we have come to a compromise as I approached the High Court against them and the court has ordered police to look into the matter which resulted in the rectification of the bill and the matter is resolved. I will be collecting my car tomorrow morning,” he said. “I was ready to pay today. But they wanted a bank draft and as they informed me after banking hours, the payment could not be made.”