Congress former councilor Nilesh Kumbhani, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Alpesh Katheriya and 12 others were arrested on Friday for alleged violation of night curfew and Covid-19 guidelines during Katheriya’s birthday celebrations at a farm house in Kamrej on Thursday. Four policemen were also suspended for negligence in duty.
Police said that a video that was widely shared on social media on Friday morning showed a few youths carrying Katheriya on their shoulders, while some others were dancing.
Surat rural police found that the video was shot at Sahjanand farm owned by Kumbhani in Kosmada village of Kamrej taluka on Thursday night at the birthday party of Katheriya.
On Friday, Kamrej police registered an offence against the farm house owner, Kumbhani, Katheriya and 12 others, under Indian Penal Code sections 188, 269, 270, Disaster Management Act section 51(b), Epidemic Disease Act 1897 section 3 and the Gujarat Epidemic Regulation Act 2020 section 13(1).
In the afternoon, police arrested 14 people, including Katheriya and Kumbhani. Others arrested are: Chandubhai Sojitra, husband of ex-councilor of Congress Jyoti Sojitra, Dharmik Malaviya, PAAS co-convenor, and PAAS workers Mahesh Vaghani, Sanjay Mawani, Nikunj Kakadiya, Karunesh Ranpariya, Hitesh Jasholiya, Ashwin Bagdana, Hitesh Bhikhadiya, Naresh Virani, Nikhil Sawani and Maulik Nasit — all residents of Surat. They were released on bail in the evening.
Police said organisers had sent invitations for the party through WhatsApp. Surat district superintendent of police (SP) suspended four policemen — assistant sub-inspector Prakash Morey, head constable Dilip Vasava, and constables Prakash Dattatray and Vishnubhai Chothabhai — for negligence in duty.
SP Usha Rada said, “The farm house is owned by Nilesh Kumbhani, and we came to know that the birthday party and dinner was organised by Hitesh Jasholiya. The organisers had not taken police permission. The accused violated night curfew norms as well as Covid norms such as social distancing and wearing masks, as per the video footage. Over 200 people attended the party.”
She added, “We have also suspended four policemen who were on night duty, as they did not knew about that party in the farm house falling in their area.”
PAAS co-convenor Dharmik Malaviya said, “Only limited number of people were invited but the numbers grew in the night. ”