Kamala Mills fire: Hotelier held for shielding 1Above owner gets bail
1Above was one of the two restaurants that caught fire, killing 14 peoplemumbai Updated: Jan 15, 2018 20:26 IST
The sessions court on Monday granted bail to Vishal Kariya, arrested for allegedly shielding Abhijit Mankar -- co-owner of 1Above who is an accused in the December 29 Kamala Mills fire incident.
1Above was one of the two restaurants that caught fire, killing 14 people. Kariya, a Juhu-based hotelier, was found in possession of Mankar’s white Audi. Police said Kariya got the keys of the car from another 1Above owner, Kripesh Sanghvi, just hours after the fire.
Kariya had earlier told the police he had never used the car or read or seen the news and so was not aware they were looking for 1Above’s owners. The police detained Kariya at 5am on January 9 and arrested him by 8pm when they found out the car had been used on January 3.
Kariya’s counsel Sujit Shelar approached the Bombay high court (HC) stating he has been charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 216 (harbouring offender who has escaped from custody or whose apprehension has been ordered) which is a bailable offence and hence the order granting police custody was illegal and contrary to the law.
The special public prosecutor said there is no material on record to charge the petitioner for an offence punishable under section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The HC then directed the petitioner to approach a magistrate in Bhoiwada, who granted bail on a Rs-10,000 bond.
Meanwhile, the police are recording statements of the diners who were at the restaurants when the fire broke out. “Some witnesses put out posts on the fire on social media. We tracked them down to record statements, but they are refusing to co-operate,” said a police officer from NM Joshi police station. “There were around 150 diners and their statements can strengthen our case.”