Swinging into action a year after a fatal fire at the Goyal Shopping Centre in Borivli claimed a fireman’s life, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation finally initiated a departmental inquiry against its 15 officials.
Suspecting a foul play in fireman Pradeep Zagade’s death, the civic body had constituted a committee to probe the matter last year.
“Two such inquiry reports have so far been submitted, following which departmental inquiry has been initiated against 15 civic officials,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani.
Those facing an inquiry are from the shop and establishment, licences, building factory and building proposal departments of the civic body.
“The report of this inquiry is yet to be submitted. We will be able to initiate action only after it,” added Adtani.
In its investigation, the fire department had found several irregularities in the shopping centre, which led to the mishap — the basement was leased out to small shops, the fire safety apparatus was missing, the shopping centre didn’t even have mandatory licences from the civic body and fire brigade.
The commercial centre didn’t have a no-objection certificate from the fire department and no sprinklers were installed in the basement, which is mandatory. The shopping centre was more than 25 years old and housed over 210 shops, godowns, restaurants and other commercial units most of which were illegal.
The ventilation space was neglected to accommodate small shops in the basement.
Corporators of the standing committee said that the civic body has not been able submit its inquiry report in Zagade’s death. “The statement about departmental inquiry being conducted is an eyewash as none of the civic officials have been punished for neglecting duties,” said Congress corporator Sameer Desai.
The fire brigade had also initiated prosecution against owners of the shopping centre under the new fire safety and prevention act.