Minor girls trapped in Ghaziabad high-rise lift for 24 minutes, AOA office bearers booked
The police have registered an FIR against the apartment owners’ association based on a complaint by the father of one of the girls
The Ghaziabad police have registered an FIR against the office bearers of an apartment owners’ association (AOA) after three girls got trapped inside a lift on the 11th floor of a high-rise in Crossings Republik Township on Tuesday evening.
The police said the FIR was registered against Chitra Chaturvedi, president of Assotech Nest AOA, and Abhay Jha, the AOA secretary. The high-rise has about 734 flats which are mostly occupied and 12 lifts in all, which are maintained by an agency contracted by the AOA, said the office-bearers.
Shivam Gehlot, the father of one of the girls, filed a complaint based on which the police registered an FIR under Indian Penal Code sections 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 (rash or negligent act endangering human life) at Crossings Republik police station late Wednesday night.
“The AOA office-bearers have the responsibility of maintaining the lifts. The incident took place on Tuesday evening when my daughter boarded the lift from the 20th floor and her two friends joined her from the 11th floor. They were going down to play. The lift developed a snag and all three got trapped for nearly 24 minutes. A video shows all three girls trying helplessly to get out,” said Shivam Gehlot, father of one of the girls.
A video of the incident was widely shared on social media, police said, and shows the three girls -- aged seven to eight years -- trying to physically open the door, and pressing different buttons of the lift, in order to get the doors to open. In between, they are also seen consoling each other that help would arrive.
“They tried all measures and finally started knocking on the doors of the lift. It was the noise that alerted the guards. The girls are traumatised by the incident. My daughter is now afraid of using the lift and takes the stairs instead,” Gehlot said.
“The high-rise has CCTV cameras but the surveillance room remains locked after 6pm once the staff leave. It was with great difficulty that I managed to get the CCTV footage of the incident. The AOA has also not provided me with a copy of the lift maintenance contract,” Gehlot added.
Anshu Jain, circle officer (city 1), said, “On the basis of a complaint alleging laxity in the lift maintenance at Assotech Nest high-rise and taking cognizance of the fact that three girls got trapped in one of the lifts for about half-an-hour, we registered an FIR at Crossings Republik police station. We have initiated an inquiry in the case.”
When contacted, AOA president Chitra Chaturvedi requested that the AOA secretary be contacted for comment.
Abhya Jha, secretary of the AOA, said the incident was unfortunate but the lift had developed some snag. He said he was informed by the maintenance staff that it took some time to rescue the girls.
“At the time of the incident, the guard on duty tried to help the girls but he was unable to open the lift. He ran downstairs and alerted the lift operator. They then arrived on the 11th floor and opened the lift and rescued the girls. This took some time but that was not due to lack of effort on the part of the staff,” Jha said.
He said the incident was not reported to him or the AOA president and an FIR was directly registered by the police.
“I have issued a show cause notice to the high-rise maintenance agency and the lift maintenance agency. The lift maintenance agency staff arrived on Thursday and are taking up remedial measures,” Jha said.