Mumbai: Even with the top echelons of the Maharashtra government present at the venue including Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatreya Padsalgikar and BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta when a raging fire consumed the stage in the Make in India Week on Sunday evening, no FIR has been filed so far in 24 hours.
The event was organised at the Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai and the cultural programmes were on when the incident happened. Fortunately, there were no casualties despite a huge gathering thanks to the efficiency of the Mumbai Police and BMC Disaster Management Cell.
What is now gradually developing into a mystery is that none of the Maharashtra government including the Chief Minister's Office, Chief Secretary Office, MIDC and the departments of industry, culture and protocol have come forward to file an FIR, a source from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told Firstpost.
The same source questioned why there was no FIR filed when a suo motu registration of a FIR could have been easily done with so many senior police officials present.
The BMC rule book states that fire brigade officials can also file an FIR but they also didn’t, said the source. He added that investigations are on. Additional commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh said that he will speak on the issue later after the initial investigation ends.
When Firstpost contacted the police department seeking to understand as to why no FIR had been filed yet, Mumbai Police spokesperson and DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said that they’re waiting for the inquiry to be completed. He, however, added that prima facie it looks like an accident.
The fire had broken out during the Maharashtra Night event at south Mumbai's Girgaum Chowpatty, gutting the entire stage on Sunday evening. The fire started at 8.25 pm and was put out only by 9.45 pm. The organiser of the event Wizcraft issued a statement refuting all allegations of negligence by saying that all fire safety norms were followed and swift evacuation ensured that there were no casualties. The stage, officials say, was designed by Nitin Chandrakant Desai and the entire event was managed by Wizcraft. The state government had coughed out Rs 4 crore for the event.
The art director Nitin Desai also clarified his stand saying that after 4.30 pm on Sunday, he handed over the stage to Wizcraft and suspects that fire may have been caused due to short circuit, a doubt that the BMC has also expressed.
A Wizcraft senior executive refrained from commenting on the incident when contacted by em>Firstpost. Chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya, Industry principal secretary Apporva Chandra and BMC commissioner Ajoy Mahta were busy with the ‘Make in India’ event on Monday and therefore unavailable for comment.
"It was a very unfortunate accident which occurred while the event was in progress. Soon after the incident the firefighters evacuated all the citizens and dancers safely. We have ordered an enquiry into the incident and report will be prepared, only after that can we say anything,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said on Sunday.
"However, no one was injured thanks to a fire audit conducted Thursday. A comprehensive disaster management plan was prepared because of which the fire fighters could act smoothly," the chief minister said.