Two Chennai hoteliers in spot

Chennai, May 27 (IANS) Two city-based star rated hoteliers are in a spot for different reasons, but around the same time. Insiders in the industry say they have not seen such uncanny coincidence before.

While a prominent hotelier’s son is on the run after a hit-and-run case in which a child died, the other man in the industry is reported to be involved in the spot fixing case that has rocked the Indian Premier League cricket series in the past few days.

Tamil Nadu Police are on the look-out for Shaji Purushothaman, the son of Empee Group chairman M. Purushothaman, in a hit-and-run case here in which a small boy was killed and a couple of others injured, a few days back.

The Empee Group has interests in hotels, sugar, power and alcoholic beverages. Group company Empee Hotels owns the 204-room Hilton Chennai hotel here.

“The father (Purushothaman) is a nice man. He is now facing tension because of his son,” a hotel industry official told IANS, preferring anonymity.

On Wednesday night last week Shaji along with his friends allegedly ran over three children sleeping on the pavement here. One of the children, Muniraj, aged 13, died in a hospital later.

While police have booked Shaji for drunken driving and causing death, he is on the run.

Meanwhile, the identity of the second hotelier who is under the police scanner for cricket betting remains unknown. But it is rumoured that the person is a franchisee for an international hotel chain.

The Crime Branch Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) of Tamil Nadu Police had said that investigations are on to find out why the wife of a Chennai-based five-star hotel owner telephoned a cricket bookie, now under arrest, over a 100 times.

Without naming the woman, her husband or the hotel, the CBCID said the woman made more than 100 calls to Uttam C. Jain, an arrested cricket bookie, and the purpose of the calls and the connection between the two are under investigation.

It is also said that the hotelier, known as Victor in betting circles, used the phone connection obtained in his wife’s name to get in touch with the bookies.

The hotelier is said to have links with Vindoo Dara Singh, arrested by the Mumbai police for betting.

“Nobody in the hotel circuit here has Victor as his nickname. We are not sure who that hotelier is and I do not want hazard a guess,” an industry official told IANS.

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