Kamala Mills fire: Bombay HC grants bail to Mumbai fire brigade officer arrested for 'dereliction of duty'
The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted bail to a Mumbai Fire Brigade officer, who was arrested in the Kamala Mills fire case.
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted bail to a Mumbai Fire Brigade officer, who was arrested in the Kamala Mills fire case. Fire Officer Rajendra Patil was arrested, along with others, following the blaze at two roof-top restaurants in the Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai in December last year.
Justice AS Gadkari took note of the argument of Patil's lawyer's that though he had granted the fire-safety certificate to "1Above", one of the two restaurants, he could not have known that the owners would later carry out structural changes on the premises, in violation of fire safety norms.
Patil had granted the certificate to "1Above" only a week before the 29 December incident, which claimed 14 lives.
He was arrested under section 304, IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) for alleged dereliction of duty. The owners of both the restaurants were also among those arrested. Patil had moved the high court after his bail plea was rejected by the sessions court.
His lawyer Deepak Salvi argued that there was no way Patil could have known at the time of granting the certificate that the restaurant owners would make illegal structural changes subsequently. The owners were solely responsible for the fire as they had illegally extended the bamboo structure, where hookahs were kept and which caught fire, he told the court.
Patil's report, while granting the fire-safety certificate, had mentioned that the terrace restaurant was an open-air one, the lawyer said, adding that the bamboo shed over it was installed later. The court asked Patil to furnish a bond of Rs 45,000 while granting him bail.
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Referring to the #ArrestRhea run by the channel during the controversy following SSR's death, the bench asked whether asking public opinion on who should be arrested constituted investigative journalism
The court also directed police to submit investigation papers pertaining to the case in a sealed cover by 5 November, which is when it will hear the matter
The CJI-led bench said that the High Court will be able to make an informed decision as it was well acquainted with the evidence and officers of the case.