Kamala Mills fire: No bail to 7 accused
The court has also ordered the release of the two managers of 1Above, Kevin Bawa and Lisbon Lopez, on bail.Updated: Apr 12, 2018, 01:20 IST
A sessions court on Wednesday rejected the bail pleas of seven accused in the Kamala Mills fire case, including fire officer Ravindra Patil and the owners of Mojo’s Bistro, 1Above and Kamala Mills, observing that they may influence the witnesses and hamper the investigation.
The sessions court has rejected the bail pleas of Yug Pathak – one of the owners of Mojo’s Bistro; Kripesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijit Mankar – owners of restaurant 1Above; Ramesh Govani and Ravi Bhandari – owners of Kamala Mills compound; and Ravind Patil.
The court has also ordered the release of the two managers of 1Above, Kevin Bawa and Lisbon Lopez, on bail.
Sessions judge SV Yarlagadda, while rejecting bail to the seven accused mentioned above, negated the arguments of the defence that the charge of culpable homicide is not applicable to the case as the accused had no intentions to cause death.
The defence claimed that they did not even know the victims to show that there was intention.
“It may be true that none of the applicants might be knowing who were they (victims), but the intention itself is not the only factor to determine the culpable homicide. The knowledge of causing death is also to be considered,” the court observed in the order rejecting the bail pleas.
The court observed that as per the prosecution’s case, the building owners, pub owners, service provider and the fire safety officer colluded in starting and running such pubs in a highly dense area, without providing any safety measures.
“Anybody could have been caught in a death trap in such a situation,” the court observed.
The judge however held that he would not decide on the applicability of charges of culpable homicide to the case as it will be ascertained at the time of trial after proper evaluation of the evidence.
The court also slammed the defence on its argument that the accused are law-abiding citizens. The court observed, “The case paper against them shows that the pubs and special hookah services were being run by violating rules. The allegations are that even before the fire incident in question, notices were issued to the pub owners to remove the illegal structures. But, they did not pay heed. It is alleged that although once they were removed, they again erected illegal structures.”
“During the hearing of the case, I have noticed that the owners of Mojo’s and 1Above are trying to shift the burden on each other by saying that the fire emanated from the other premises. As per the prosecution’s case, it emanated from hookah charcoal. Therefore, this conduct of applicants shows that they are not entitled to bail,” the court observed in its order.