Hotel Square’s managing director arrested over five months after tragic electrocution incident
February 6, 2024 10:15 PM NPT
By: Sara Pahari
Social activists and family members of Sajil Man Shakya organize a peaceful protest at Mangalbazar, Lalitpur on Tuesday demanding justice for Shakya who was electrocuted while swimming at Hotel Square five months ago. Bijay Rai/Republica
KATHMANDU, Feb 6: After over five months since Sajil Man Shakya was electrocuted in the pool of a Lalitpur-based hotel, the Managing Director of Hotel Square, Romi Aryal, was apprehended by the police on Monday.
According to SP Shekhar Khanal at Lalitpur Police Range, Lalita Bhandari Devkota, the operator of the hotel, surrendered to the police earlier on January 21. Devkota's case is currently sub judice at the Lalitpur District Court, which had earlier issued arrest warrants for both Aryal and Devkota.
These charges against the hotel operators stem from an incident involving a local youth, Sajil Man Shakya, who suffered electrocution injuries while in the swimming pool of Hotel Square in Lalitpur Metropolitan City-3, at around 3:30 PM on August 31.
At approximately 3:00 PM that day, Shakya went swimming in the hotel's pool with his wife and two-and-a-half-year old daughter.
“We had only snapped some pictures when his hand landed on one of the three focus lights near the swimming pool shortly before being electrocuted," said Rajina Manandhar, Shakya’s wife. Manandhar claimed that while Shakya was still in the pool, his hand unintentionally made contact with one of the three focus lights surrounding the area. This contact seemed to expose him to leaking electric current. Subsequently, Shakya remained motionless and unresponsive for some time after experiencing the electrocution, lasting approximately 20 to 25 seconds. When his wife attempted to assist him out of the pool, she too suffered an electric shock.
Following the incident, Shakya was rushed to Nepal Mediciti Hospital in the hotel’s vehicle. "The hospital reported that Shakya had also experienced a heart attack. Later, he was brought to Maitighar-based Annapurna Neuro Hospital," Manandhar said.
He was kept in Nepal Mediciti Hospital for about a month. Subsequently, he was transferred to Annapurna Neuro Hospital at Maitighar for further medical attention.
Initially, Shakya's family attempted to file a complaint of attempted murder against the hotel's promoters, citing negligence in addressing the electrical leakage. Shakya’s forensic report prepared by Patan Academy of Health Sciences reads, “On the physical examination of the victim, the injuries over the right forearm were grossly identified as electrical burn and the histopathology from the mentioned injury showed signs of electrocution.” The report supports the claim of the victim’s family. However, the police response was delayed until a government attorney intervened.
Despite receiving treatment at two hospitals, Shakya's condition has not improved. He remains unconscious after over five months, with medical equipment installed at his home for ongoing care under the supervision of a nurse and occasional tests conducted by doctors.
In an episode of "The Otherside Podcast," Manandhar spoke about the negligence of Mediciti Hospital. She recounted an incident where the hospital allowed 3-4 people from the hotel to enter the ICU room, while restricting access to only one family member. She expressed uneasy feelings about this situation.
“Our demand is for the hotel to be held accountable for the entire situation,” said Manandhar.