Kamala Mills Compound owner Ramesh Govani arrested by Mumbai Police, reports say

Mumbai Police on Monday arrested Kamala Mills Compound owner Ramesh Govani, according to several media reports.

Govani, owner of the compound where a blaze at two open-air pubs claimed 14 lives and injured 55 others on 29 December, was arrested from suburban Chembur late on Monday evening, PTI reported.

CNN-News18 reported that Govani was arrested under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code.

More than a fortnight after the tragedy, this will be the eighth big arrest made in the case, where the rich and mighty were charged with non-compliance of safety norms and negligence resulting in loss of lives.

 Kamala Mills Compound owner Ramesh Govani arrested by Mumbai Police, reports say

14 people died in the Kamala Mills fire. AFP

Before Govani, Yug Tulli, one of the co-owners of The Mojo's Bistro where the fire first erupted, surrendered to the Mumbai police on 16 January and was formally arrested.

The police have already arrested Yug Pathak, another co-owner of Mojo's Bistro. Pathak, the son of a retired IPS officer, and Tulli, a Nagpur-based businessman, were booked under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life and personal safety of others) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Among others, Tuli has also been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the December 29 fire which started in The Mojo's Bistro, spread to 1Above and other pubs on the rooftop of Kamala Trade House early that morning.

Ealier, Yug Pathak, son of a retired DGP level IPS offier KK Pathak, who is Tuli's partner in the pub, was arrested.

Besides, the three owners — Kripesh Sanghavi, Jigar Sanghavi and Abhijit Mankar — of the 1Above pub where most of the 14 deaths took place, were arrested on 10 January.

Two managers of 1Above — Kevin Bawa and Lisbon Lopez — have also been arrested in the same case.

Besides, four others, including hotelier Vishal Karia, were arrested but later released on bail on charges of aiding and sheltering the absconding accused owners against whom Mumbai police had announced a reward of Rs 100,000.

Karia was booked under Section 216 of the Indian Penal Code for harbouring an offender after the police found an Audi car belonging to prime accused Mankar, co-owner of the 1Above pub, at his residence.

On Sunday, the Mumbai Police had also arrested Kamala Mills director Ravi Surajmal Bhandari, Fire Brigade officer Rajendra Baban Patil and Utkarsh Vinod Pande, the owner of the hookah company Nirvana on various charges in the case.

The latest in the series of arrests took place after an inquiry report by the Mumbai municipal commissioner confirmed the theory that flying embers from hookah served illegally at Mojo's Bistro was the trigger for the fire. The report also proposed criminal action against the owner of the premises, owners of both the restaurants and concerned architects and interior decorators.

Earlier, a preliminary probe report by the Fire Brigade had also suggested that the blaze possibly started at Mojo's Bistro. The blaze soon spread through an inflammable canopy, installed to weather-proof the open air pub, which was again an illegal addition as open-air establishments are not allowed to cover the roofs.

The owner of the premises who gave permission for unauthorised use of terrace areas to these two restaurants was equally responsible for the fire and deaths, the municipal commissioner's report said.

 "It is therefore proposed to initiate criminal action against owner of the premises, owners of the restaurants, the architect and the interior decorator who carried out...these unauthorised works and illegal activities," the municipal commissioner's report said.

It also proposed departmental inquiry against ten fire brigade officials for dereliction of duty. The 98-page report sought amendments to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act to make punishment for such lapses by restaurants or eateries more stringent.

 The husband of Parul Lakdawala, one of the fire victims, had filed an intervention application, opposing the anticipatory bail plea of Tulli, saying that the latter was responsible for the death of his wife and others.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 22:54:08 IST