Mumbai: A day after 14 people died in a huge fire at a restaurant in Mumbai's Kamala Mills compound, the police have dispatched multiple teams to different states to search for the accused. A lookout notice has also been issued against them so that the accused do not leave the country.
The police have booked the owners of the pub "1 Above" along with others, under various charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The accused - Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of Sigrid Ospitalita and Entertainment, which manages the "1 Above" pub - have also been charged under section 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety or others).
Mojo's Bistro, the restaurant adjacent to "1 Above" has not received a clean chit yet, but the police prima facie believe the fire started from 1 "Above", sources said. In a statement on Friday, "1 Above" had claimed the fire started from "quarters" adjoining the restaurant and its emergency exit was used by customers from Mojo's Bistro too.
The fire is suspected to have started a little after 12.30 am on Friday and spread quickly. Witnesses said the entire building was engulfed in flames in less than half-an-hour. The fire is believed to have spread further as the roof of the restaurant was made of bamboo and tarpaulin sheets.
Five Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC officials have been suspended after massive outrage over the incident, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying officials would face criminal cases if an inquiry indicted them of being "deliberately negligent".
An activist of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had reportedly complained in October to the civic body BMC about illegal structures that could cause a disaster, but he was told there was "nothing illegal".
The BJP, which has been in power in BMC for two decades with the Shiv Sena, said there had been negligence. At least three notices were issued and the pub was closed also. But it reopened. Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Shweta Shalini told NDTV. "That is why the Chief Minister stepped in and said if we find a similar kind of negligence, then officials will be booked too," she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)