Ruling out the sabotage angle, the Mumbai police crime branch, in its report on the June 21 Mantralaya fire, has concluded that the blaze was an accident. The investigation report, which is in its final stages of compilation, is likely to be submitted to the government in 8-9 days.
A senior crime branch official directly involved with the probe told Hindustan Times on Thursday that nothing suspicious was found during the investigation. He said that while the report has been compiled, the crime branch is in the process of collating information from various agencies such as the fire brigade, the public works department and various departments of the Mantralaya, to assess the damages. “Once the reports are collected, the comprehensive report will be submitted to the government,” the official said.
He said that the compilation of the report, which should have been done over a fortnight ago, was delayed on account of the August 11 violence at Azad Maidan, which the crime branch has been asked to investigate. “Around 60 officers were involved in tracing those involved in the violence. The other investigations have suffered because of it,” he said.
The official said that the fire had started from room no 411 on the fourth floor of the building and was a result of short circuit in a cubicle that temporarily housed some computers and a server. Aided by strong wind and inflammable material used for furniture, the fire spread quickly. The police have not found any combustible material from the samples collected from the site.
The official said that the crime branch had recorded statements of more than 250 witnesses — including the Mantralaya staff, visitors, bureaucrats and legislators —before ruling out the possibility of sabotage.