Crime branch yet to rule out sabotage in Mantralaya fire | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Crime branch yet to rule out sabotage in Mantralaya fire

Mumbai crime branch officials on Tuesday said the inquiry into the cause of the fire at Mantralaya on June 21 is not over, and they are yet to reach a conclusion.

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2012 02:53 IST

Mumbai crime branch officials on Tuesday said the inquiry into the cause of the fire at Mantralaya on June 21 is not over, and they are yet to reach a conclusion.

A senior crime branch official said that though they have received the Kalina forensic lab's report ruling out sabotage, their inquiry is still underway.

"We need a few more days to reach a conclusion and are waiting for the incident report of the fire department, which is expected soon," the official said.

He clarified that the crime branch's probe is limited to ascertaining if the fire was an accident or an act of sabotage.

The official said investigators have recorded statements of nearly 190 persons who witnessed the fire, including officials and those who suffered injuries.

"There are a few contradictions in the statements, and we are looking into them," the official said.

The team is poring through the CCTV footages. The official said the corridors of Mantralaya building had CCTVs, but the rooms and offices didn't, which is one reason the crime branch is investing lot of time in the statements of those present during the fire.

The crime branch has learnt that there was no fire audit of the building after 2008.

"We are looking into various aspects. However, our inquiry is focused more on the accident or sabotage angle," the official said.

The branch's inquiry is based on four factors: Forensic evidence, statement of witnesses, CCTV footage in Mantralaya, and circumstantial evidence.

Four crime branch units comprising nearly 40 officials are part of the probe. The team is headed by an assistant commissioner of police and a deputy commissioner of police, while senior officials are monitoring the investigation on a daily basis.

Crime branch officials believe the fire originated from room number 411 on the fourth floor. The forensic report submitted states that a combustible chemical did not lead to the fire.