The reception lobby of No 18 hotel; Ansi and Anjana | Photo: Mathrubhumi, PTI
Kochi: “Ansi Kabeer and Anjana Shajan were regular visitors of Number-18 Hotel in Fort Kochi and were very close to Roy Joseph Vayalat, the owner of the hotel,” said Sobin (24), the waiter at the hotel, who served them food minutes before their last journey.
Ansi Kabeer, Miss Kerala 2019 winner, along with Anjana Shajan (24), Miss Kerala 2019 runner up, and K A Muhammed Ashik (25), died in a tragic accident on the Vyttila-Palarivattom National Highway Bypass on November 1. The accident happened on their way back home from the Number-18 hotel.
Sobin recollects and shares all the moments with them on October 31 night. Sobin works here on a part-time basis as he studies hospitality management at the IMS institute in Kochi.
“Ansi and Anjana visited the hotel many times during their visit to Kochi. The event was not a night party but a normal get together with all close friends of the owner of the hotel. Tables were arranged on the rooftop. Music was played and also food and beverages were served,” said Sobin.
The owner usually arranges such events to enhance the business and to keep good relationships with the customers, added Sobin.
“There were nearly 30 participants in around 12 tables. I was handling three tables. At one table Ansi and the team were sitting. They came at around 7:30 pm; by the time others were already in, including Shyju (who reportedly chased Ansi and Anjana before the accident). Ansi knew me personally as she was a regular visitor. She told me about a shooting in Kochi and asked about my family and studies. She was so generous to all and behaved very kindly."
"The team ordered a bottle of liquor and french fries. Ansi and Anjana did not drink but the other two finished it off. Later they had food and danced to the music. Anjana had casual chats with people at other tables as well. I saw Shyju and Roy having a word with them. She was enjoying the moments, as I recall. Her charm pleased others and the get together went well. It was at 11:30 pm they left the party. Ansi paid the bill of Rs 1,550 through Google Pay. When she was leaving, she told me that she would come again next Wednesday as the shooting will continue in Kochi for one more week."
By around 12:15 am, Sobin reached the reception lobby of the hotel after finishing duty. “I saw Ansi and Anjana talking to Shyju and Roy outside the hotel. She was free and happy. However, the person who drove the vehicle was under the influence of alcohol. I heard Shyju and Roy asking them to rest till morning. However, they preferred to leave. The driver did not seem to have any control over the vehicle. Shyju later followed them."
"After an hour, Darryl, a staff of the hotel, received a call from Roy about the accident. “Roy told him that their car met with an accident and asked us to go there to help. By the time Darryl, Jio and Antony reached the spot they were shifted to a hospital. They rushed to the hospital only to find out that Ansi and Anjana were dead. It was Shyju who informed Roy about the accident."
Sobin also claimed that the media reports are well beyond reality. “No VIP or special guest attended the event. All of the attendees were close friends of Roy. There was no quarrel and any kind of issue in the hotel,” he said.
When asked why the hotel owner concealed the hard disk of the CCTV footage, he said: “There was an Excise raid, a day before the event. We were warned of cancelling the bar license for serving liquor after 9 pm. During the event as well, we served liquor till 11:30 pm. This must have been the reason why the owner destroyed the hard disk.”