Panel unlikely to recommend legal action

Kathmandu, February 3

A five-member probe committee formed by the Department of Tourism to investigate lapses on the part of Everest Panorama Resort in Daman is set to make its report public without recommending legal action against the resort owner or staffers for negligence.

According to sources, the probe committee has not held the hotel responsible for any kind of negligence in this case.

Eight Indian tourists from Kerala had lost their lives due to suffocation caused by a gas heater inside a room in Everest Panorama Resort on January 21.

The committee is submitting its report to the government tomorrow.

Sources at the Department of Tourism informed that though the panel had not found the resort responsible for any kind of negligence, it might recommend action against the resort owner for operating the resort without registering with the government bodies Surendra Thapa, co-coordinator of the probe committee told THT, “We have found some lapses on the part of management team, but the guests themselves are more responsible for this unfortunate incident as they had forced the hotel staffers to take the gas heater inside the hotel room despite frequent requests of hotel staffers.”

Earlier, the relatives of the deceased had filed a first information report with Nepal Police demanding an investigation into the case. But Nepal police is yet to launch a fullfledged investigation into the case.

Police said they could not investigate until they had a copy of the final autopsy report.

However, the Department of Forensic Science, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj, said that the final autopsy report had already been prepared and they could provide it to police if required.

Quoting the report, Chief of the Department of Forensic Science Tulsi Kandel said that the tourists died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Senior Superintended of Police Sushil Singh Rathaur, head of Makawanpur District Police, where the incident took place, said, “We believe that it was an accident and the relatives of the deceased have also not accused any hotel staffer in the FIR. So we are in no position to take any legal action against the resort or its staffers.”

Security experts, however, say that police can take action against the hotel in-charge for negligence. Police are also required to launch a thorough investigation since it is a government case.

Director General of DoT Danduraj Ghimire said, “Action will be taken against the resort for sure since it was not registered with DoT, and it lacked basic safety measures.” A resort, according to DoT regulations, must have air conditioners, smoke detectors and proper ventilation in all the rooms and a team of well-trained staffers. Ghimire said that the hotel lacked all these basic amenities.