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Bhandup mall fire: Hospital group’s executive, fire agency staffer held

Bhandup police have arrested two persons in connection with the HDIL Dreams Mall fire that had resulted in the death of 11 patients admitted in Sunrise Hospital, located on the mall’s third floor
By Manish K Pathak, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 08, 2021 01:02 AM IST
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Bhandup police have arrested two persons in connection with the HDIL Dreams Mall fire that had resulted in the death of 11 patients admitted in Sunrise Hospital, located on the mall’s third floor.

A massive fire broke out on the first floor of the Bhandup mall late on March 25, which spread to the third floor, housing the Covid-19 hospital.

Police officers said that during the course of investigation, they found that George Puthhu Seri, the chief executive officer of the Privilege Healthcare (which owns Sunrise Hospital), had in connivance with Haresh Dayalal Joshi of fire safety inspection firm Pona Corporation, had obtained a fire NOC (no-objection certificate) for the mall by certifying that its fire safety system was functional, despite the fact that it was not.

Assistant commissioner of police Priya Dhakane of Bhandup division said that Seri and Joshi were arrested on Thursday. A metropolitan magistrate at Mulund remanded them in police custody till May 10.

“During investigation, we learnt that the water pumps and smoke detectors were not functional at the mall. Pona Corporation is a BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation)-authorised licenced agency, which claimed to have tested the fire-fighting system in the mall and submitted bogus fitness certificate. Based on it, the fire department issued an NOC to the mall, said Dhakane.

Bhandup police have also booked several people, including HDIL directors Rakeshkumar Wadhawan and his son Sarang, Nikita Amitsingh Trehan and Deepak Shirke, as well as Amitsingh Trehan and Sweetie Jain who are the directors of Privilege Health Care Services Private Limited, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust), 465 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code have been added to the crime on Thursday.

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