Mumbai: Two managers of a rooftop pub in Mumbai have been arrested in connection with the fire in Kamala Mills, which killed 14 people on December 29. Kevin Bawa and Lisbon Lopez, who worked with the 1Above pub, were caught from their homes this morning. They have been sent to police custody till January 9. The two were present in the pub when the blaze started, but fled without helping the guests, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting police sources.
Three relatives of the absconding pub owners K Sanghavi and G Sanghavi were arrested yesterday. Rakesh and Aditya Sanghavi were released on bail today.
Cases of negligence and culpable homicide have already been filed against the pub owners. The two were arrested in the same case.
After talking to survivors, the police believe the fire had started at 1Above pub. But the pub's managers had blamed the adjacent Mojo's Bistro, claiming they were being targeted as the owners of the adjacent pub are influential.
The 1Above management has already written to the President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Mumbai Police Commissioner and civic body chief alleging there was a conspiracy against them. Demanding that the matter be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, they alleged, "The concerned police station is linked in destroying the evidence on site and making false reports".
Mojo's Bistro claims not a single death took place on their premises because they had followed the rules. A statement released yesterday by one of the partners said a month ago, its staff had undergone training in first aid, CPR, and fire drills. This, the statement read, was why the staff "was able to locate the building fire exits and evacuate guests to safety, without any injuries or casualties".
Eleven women were among the people who died in the fire that had ripped through the pub a little after midnight on Friday. Eyewitnesses said the patrons had difficulty in finding the exit door, which also impeded rescue efforts.
The fire in the run up to the New Year revelries had triggered a wave of demolitions across Mumbai. After order from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, that all illegal structures be 'demolished on a war footing', unauthorized structures at more than 300 sites were razed. Five officials of Mumbai's civic body BMC have been suspended.