Kamala Mills fire: Owners of 1Above accuse police of distorting evidence, hold Mojo's Bistro responsible for incident
A day after the Mumbai Police filed FIRs in relation to the Kamala Mills fire which killed 14, the owners of Mojo's Bistro, 1Above sent a letter to the media saying, 'all the facts are not being properly placed and published by police.'
A day after the Mumbai Police filed FIRs against the owners of Mojo and 1Above restaurants, in relation to the Kamala Mills fire which killed 14 people, the owners of both the establishments released their statements. While the owners of 1Above claimed that all the facts are not being properly placed and published by police, Mojo's, in its statement, said that its trained staff evacuated the guests.
Kripesh Sanghavi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Mankar of 1Above said in the letter that "there is a likelihood of destroying evidence and circumventing the evidence to corner and trap us in an incident, which has not occurred due to our negligence".
They further accused Mojo's Bistro of negligence and said that the fire started at Mojo's. They said that if the fire had started at 1Above, the dividing wall between the two premises would have been destroyed and guests wouldn't have run to their establishment from Mojo's.
The letter said that the crowd ran towards their premises and some of them went into the bathroom, where they suffocated due to the smoke and not the fire. Claiming that they are "victims" in this incident, they said that the owners of Mojo’s Bistro are liable to be prosecuted for negligence.
The letter also accused the owners of Mojo's, Yug Pathak, Siddharth Mahadevan and Yug Tuli, for controlling the media. It also pointed out that on the day the fire ravaged the compound, early reports blamed Mojo's, but the blame later shifted to 1Above because "news is influenced by powerful persons whose children are involved with Mojo's Bistro."
While saying that they are innocent, the owners of 1Above said in the letter that the case should be transferred to the CBI for unbiased investigation because according to them, the concerned police station is involved in destroying evidence on site and making false reports.
They also said that they have the 'no-objection certificate (NOC)' from the fire department dated 23 December, 2017 and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's permission. "The emergency fire exit was used for removing 400 guests (our guests and guest of Mojo’s Bistro). It is incorrect that our fire exit was blocked," the letter stated.
"The owners of Mojo's Bistro are highly influential and powerful and have links with the police and politicians, therefore the blame has wrongly been shifted to us," the letter said. They also claimed to have eyewitnesses to confirm that the fire started at Mojo's.
Meanwhile, Mojo's Yug Tuli, who is also named in the FIR, said in a statement that he was informed by his staff that there were about 40 guests in the restaurant at the time of the incident. He was further told that some of his staff members went to douse the fire and the rest started escorting the guests out.
He further said that his staff informed him that every guest and staff member was safely evacuated through the fire exits, and stated that the exits belong to the building and not to any single outlet. While saying that they are very particular about safety measures, he said that there were no gas cylinders in the kitchen or anywhere on their premises.
Tuli also said that the staff was trained a month back for basic first aid, CPR, and fire drills were also conducted. This was the primary reason they were able to locate the building fire exits and evacuate guests safely, he added.
Statement by 1Above:
Statement by Mojo's:
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