Bawana fire: AAP, BJP engage in war of words over controversial 'video' of North Delhi Mayor

New Delhi: The Bawana fire tragedy triggered a political blame game in Delhi, which played out in tweets, videos and media statements, as the AAP and the BJP engaged in a war of words, while the Congress sought a judicial probe into the incident that claimed 17 lives.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal retweeted a video clip, that purportedly showed North Delhi Mayor Preety Agarwal murmuring something into the ears of her aides during her visit to the accident site last night, which has gone viral.

Agarwal, however, claimed the video that was "being made viral was "fake" and sought apology from the chief minister.

"Arvind Kejriwal by retweeting the video has resorted to dirty politics and he should apologise for that," she said and also posted on her Twitter handle.

File image of Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

File image of Delhi chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also backed the mayor. "What could have been more worse than CM Arvind Kejriwal retweeting an untruthful video at a time when 17 people have died in a tragedy," he tweeted.

On the tweet, he also claimed that the factory, where the fire occurred, was of the Delhi government and its "licence was given through industry department."

Meanwhile, AAP Delhi unit chief and Labour Minister Gopal Rai held a press conference at the party office where he said the labour department will probe the case as well.

"The MCD issues licenses. The Delhi government issues licenses too. The investigation is underway, only the probe will reveal who was responsible for it - MCD or Delhi's govt's officers," Rai said.

The blaze at the firecracker storage unit ripped through the structure killing 17 people on Saturday.

The Delhi government on Saturday announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to the injured.

Senior BJP leader and New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi also held a press conference and defended the mayor claiming, "She was only talking about the NDMC resolution abolishing factory licenses that was pending. The Delhi government is sitting over the resolution of 2015."

AAP's Delhi unit's chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj hit back at the BJP, saying the MCD (which is ruled by the BJP) is responsible for giving permission for constructions.

"It is quite audible that she is whispering in the ears of her aides that 'we will not speak on this because we have given license to this factory. This itself is extra-judicial confession of the MCD mayor'."

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken visited the site today and demanded a judicial probe into it. He also questioned the role of the Delhi government agencies and said it should be probed. "We demand a judicial probe. The role of Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) and the pollution department cannot be investigated in a magesterial inquiry," he told reporters at the site.

On Saturday, a number of BJP leaders, including two Union ministers, and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had visited the site of the disaster.

While AAP chief Kejriwal had said the truth about the functioning of the factory will come out only after the inquiry, which his government has ordered, the Delhi BJP had questioned the "delay" on part of the ruling party to reach out the affected families.

Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and BJP's Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari also visited the site on Saturday.

"Visited the site of #BawanaFire and #MahirshiValmikiHospital at Pooth Khurd, where two of the injured are being treated - 24-year-old Roop Prakash and 45-year-old Sunita. Both have fractures on their legs and would require surgical interventions. Appear to be out of danger," Vardhan had tweeted.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain told reporters at BSA Hospital that "the oughest of actions shall be taken against those found guilty".

Meanwhile, a senior civic body official claimed, "The NDMC did not issue any license on property no. F 83, Sector 5 in DSIIDC Industrial Area, Bawana. Once in 2014, someone had applied for license online which was rejected."


Updated Date: Jan 21, 2018 21:35 PM

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