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MNS demands independent probe into Mumbai Kamala Mills fire

MNS leader says main culprits from the ward concerned (G-south) have not been suspended

mumbai Updated: Jan 03, 2018 00:21 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Kamala Mills fire,MNS
The Kamala Mills fire killed 14 people and injured 55 others.(HT FILE)

Joining the demand for an independent probe into the Kamala Mills fire, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has alleged that the civic body has suspended “selective officials” while the officers responsible for the incident are walking free. A day after the fire in Kamala Mills that claimed the lives of 14 people and injured 55 others, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta had suspended five officials and transferred an assistant municipal commissioner pending inquiry.

However, political parties called the action an eyewash and had demanded Mehta’s resignation. The MNS on Tuesday also expressed doubts over the authenticity of an inquiry to be conducted by the civic chief. “An independent inquiry by a higher official should be conducted in this incident,” said MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande. Deshpande also alleged that the main culprits from the ward concerned (G-south) have not been suspended and no inquiry has been initiated against them, and even the ward official concerned has only been transferred.

The Congress, too, had demanded suspension of the civic chief claiming that he was “guilty of overlooking irregularities” and had demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident. The family of the victims had also supported the demand for a CBI probe. The Congress has criticised the BMC for not taking any constructive action after the Sakinaka fire of December 18, 2017, in which 12 migrants had lost their lives. On Sunday, advocate Abha Singh wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding that Mehta be removed from the probe.

According to Development Control Regulations, in the mill land if the area of new construction exceeds the old construction, then one third of the land has to be surrendered to the BMC for recreation ground and another one third of the open land has to be given to the Mhada for mass housing. Singh claimed that to avoid this, the mill land was notionally divided into two parts, instead of practical division, paving the way to set up 18 restaurants in one building, which was approved by Mehta.

Amidst the allegations that had been levelled against the BMC, Mehta had earlier clarified that no officer has been given a clean chit and everyone should wait for the inquiry report into the incident. Mehta also ordered an inquiry against assistant municipal commissioner Prashant Sapkale and the five employees who were suspended for negligence for permitting an illegal shed at 1Above that caught fire. The inquiry report is expected in a month, after which the next course of action will be decided, said Mehta.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 00:21 IST