Goa: Restaurant demolition linked to Sonali Phogat’s death stopped by SC

According to police, Phogat, a former TikTok star and contestant on the reality show 'Bigg Boss', was allegedly drugged at the restaurant before her death on August 23.

Panaji: Hours after the authorities began demolishing the North Goa-based restaurant linked to the death of BJP leader Sonali Phogat for violation of norms on Friday, the process was stopped midway after the Supreme Court stayed the action.

The state government began razing the controversial restaurant – ‘Curlies’ – located at Anjuna in North Goa around 7.30 am for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. However, the process was stopped by around 11.30 am.

The restaurant was in news recently after Phogat, a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Haryana, was found partying at the outlet hours before her death. Its owner Edwin Nunes was among five persons arrested in the Phogat death case and he was later granted bail.

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According to police, Phogat, a former TikTok star and contestant on the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’, was allegedly drugged at the restaurant before her death on August 23.

Soon after the authorities began the action against the restaurant, the Supreme Court stayed the demolition of a portion of it. The stay order pertained to demolition of structures situated on a particular survey number only. A bench headed by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit made it clear that unauthorised constructions situated on the land other than the specified survey number may be demolished.

Passing an urgent order, the bench asked the counsel for the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) to convey the order to the authorities instantly for compliance. The bench asked the owner of ‘Curlies’ to suspend commercial activities for the time being.

Gajanan Korgaonkar, the lawyer representing Linet Nunes, a co-owner of the restaurant, told reporters at the demolition site that the Supreme Court has given a stay on the action.

He said that commercial activity was banned at this place till the next Supreme Court hearing, which is scheduled in the coming week.

After the lawyer’s claim, the authorities stopped the demolition activity.

A senior official of the GCZMA said they are yet to receive the order from the Supreme Court and even if there is a stay on the action, it would be partial.

“Only one part of the restaurant has been claimed by the owner, while others which are outside his survey number of the land are disowned by him. We will go ahead with those parts which are disowned by him, even if there is a stay,” he said.

The demolition squad of the district administration along with Anjuna police personnel had arrived at the beach in the morning to demolish the restaurant that was built in ‘no development zone’ in violation of the CRZ norms, another official said.

The action against the restaurant was initiated after its owner failed to get any respite from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the 2016 demolition order of the GCZMA.

The case was heard on September 6 by the NGT bench chaired by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel. The bench had upheld the order of GCZMA disposing of the petition filed by the restaurant management.

On Thursday, the district administration had issued a notice asking its demolition squad to raze the structure on Friday. Deputy collector of Mapusa sub division Gurudas S T Desai had issued the notice.

(Except for the headline, the story has not been edited by Siasat staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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