12 Mumbai civic body officials indicted in Kamala Mills fire plead not guilty
The BMC gave charge sheet to 12 civic officials including two senior officers for dereliction of duty, after an initial inquiry conducted by senior officials.Updated: Feb 20, 2018 23:30 IST
All the 12 civic officials, who were served with a charge sheet for dereliction of duty in the Kamala Mills fire, have pleaded not guilty in their replies.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gave charge sheet to 12 civic officials including two senior officers for dereliction of duty, after an initial inquiry conducted by senior officials. All officers had ten days to reply to the charge sheet.
After scrutinising their replies, additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal, heading the departmental inquiry, will conduct a hearing for the officials and submit a report to civic chief Ajoy Mehta in the next three months.
Mehta has given a period of three months to the inquiry committee probing the role or negligence of civic officials. The committee has been asked to study every detail of the case and submit a thorough report. Following the massive fire, which claimed the lives of 14 people on December 29, Mehta had submitted a detailed report to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and recommended a departmental inquiry against the 12 civic officials.
A senior civic official said, “During the hearings, if it is found that the 12 officials can be charged with more irregularities, then additional charge sheets will be filed against them. Also, more officials can be charged if it is found that they have failed to perform their duties. These charge sheets enlist duties the officers have failed to perform.”
The 12 officials included two assistant municipal commissioners Prashant Sapkale and Bhagyashree Khapse. While Sapkale was the ward officer of G South ward (Lower Parel), during the Kamala Mills tragedy, Khapse, his predecessor, was incharge of the ward when No Objection Certificates (NOC) were issued to the two high-end restobars, Mojo’s Bistro and 1Above, where the fire took place.
Sapkale was transferred to K east ward (Andheri) on December 29, hours after the tragedy and five officials namely Designated Officer Madhukar Shelar, sub-engineer Dinesh Mahale, Junior Engineer Dhanraj Shinde, Medical Officer, Dr Satish Badgire and assistant divisional fire officer S Shinde, from the ward were suspended.
Apart from this, five, who have been issued charge sheets regarding their lapses include health officer Dr Madan, fire officer RB Patil, sanitary inspector Pradip Shirke, engineers (building and factory department) Manohar Kulkarni and Milind Vhatkar. Senior officials said that the hearings for the charge-sheeted officials may start anytime this week.
First Published: Feb 20, 2018 23:29 IST