Drink slur on 'dry' minister

Suresh Sharma at Tarapith on Tuesday. 
Picture by Dwijodas Ghosh

Calcutta: An alleged brawl in Bengal has uncorked a "fully drunk" claim linked to a minister from dry Bihar.

The official complaint filed by a Tarapith hotel employee against Bihar minister Suresh Sharma claims that the visitors were "fully drunk".

Such an allegation has particular significance for Bihar since chief minister Nitish Kumar has declared prohibition in the state, and at least one person has been sentenced to 10 years in jail after he was caught taking a swig.

The hotel staff and minister Sharma's group have accused each other of assault after an argument over room cancellation refund in cash.

Sharma told The Telegraph on Tuesday: "The charges made by hotel staff, that my staff were under the influence of liquor and attacked hotel employees, are totally fabricated."

He added that "the incident occurred at 4pm on Monday and we left for Bihar today (Tuesday) at 11am; during this time the police could have easily carried out alcohol test of my staff".

Although the complaint was lodged on Monday within a few hours of the incident, the police did not carry out any test on the minister and his associates.

In the written complaint filed with the inspector in charge of Rampurhat police station, Pranab Manna, the front office manager of the Sonar Bangla hotel in Tarapith, said: "They were fully drunk. So I would like to request you to do their medical checkup for intoxicated (sic) and consuming alcohol at the time of attack."

Manna told this newspaper: "As soon as they started arguing with me, I caught the smell of alcohol from most of the members of the team, including minister Sharma.... Anyone could tell that they were drunk."

Sunil Giri, the manager, said: "The minister was also drunk and his eyes were droopy. It was clear that most of the members, barring a lady, were fully drunk."


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