Four more scrap dealers were arrested for the fires at Deonar, taking the total number of arrests to 13. The police have recovered metal pieces from them.
The names of those arrested are Firoz Rais Khan, 33, Vijaykumar Krishnakumar Gupta, 32, Kalam Iqbal Shaikh, 44, and Sayeda alias Lallu Hafijulla Shah, 46. “All the accused are scrap dealers and we have recovered the metal pieces they got from the Deonar dumping ground,” said Sangramsinh Nishandar, deputy commissioner of police, Zone 6.
Sources said more arrests are likely in the case, including the kingpin involved in sending ragpickers to the dumping ground to ignite the fire. Investigations revealed fires make it easy for ragpickers to dig out exposed metal from the scrap.
The police have already arrested Mohammad Shaikh, Shamim Khan, Sohail Shaikh, Jayprakash Yadav, Hussain Shaikh, Alibaba Shaikh, Shoaib Shaikh, Umarghani Khan and Rajesh Mahadik (all in their thirties) for orchestrating the fire.
The officials said the arrests were conducted on the basis the statements of more than 25 ragpickers, who have been made a witness in the case.
Officials said despite three fires at the Deonar dump, with the last major one reported on March 20, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to close several ruptured walls, which serve as illegal entry points. Most of them are located at the Rafiq Nagar slums in Tilak Nagar. Several letters have been sent by the local police to the BMC.
The fires resulted in thick toxic smoke engulfing parts of the eastern suburbs and central Mumbai, including Govandi, Deonar, Chembur, Ghatkopar, Wadala, Antop Hill and Sion.