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Mumbai Kamala Mills fire: 2 managers of 1Above held, but owners still absconding

Managers arrested for allegedly fleeing from the pub without helping guests

mumbai Updated: Jan 02, 2018 11:37 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times
mumbai fire,kamala mills fire,1above
14 people were killed after a fire broke out in the pub on Friday.(HT Photo)

Two managers of 1Above, the restaurant in which killed 14 people were killed after a fire broke out on Friday, were arrested for allegedly fleeing without helping guests. The two were remanded in police custody till January 9 by a local court. The three owners of the restaurant are still absconding.

Kevin Bava, 35, and Lisbon Lopez, 34, were arrested on Sunday night. After producing them in court, the police claimed they had knowledge that safety measures were not up to the mark in the restaurant.

Seeking their police custody, the prosecution alleged the restaurant had kept only one approach passage to the lift open and had closed the emergency exit stairs because of which guests were unable to escape easily. The prosecution sought for their custody for 14 days and said the police need to get information on the other accused, the owners of the restaurant, who are still evading arrest. The prosecution further contended the police suspect the restaurant had stored inflammable material in large quantities because of which the fire spread quickly.

The defence contested the claim and said the two are innocent. While being produced before the metropolitan magistrate court, Bhoiwada, the lawyer for the two managers claimed they had nothing to do with the fire. The two claimed the fire broke in the adjacent bar — Mojo Bistro — and not in 1Above.

Lawyer Vijay Thakur contended that the two arrested are only managers and they had no knowledge and control over anything in restaurant. “Since the fire started in Mojo, the patrons ran towards 1Above hoping for escape from the deadly fire. During this, a few people fell down and died,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer also contended that the managers, along with other staff of the restaurant, tried to help the patrons escape and in this they too were injured.

The defence further questioned the applicability of the charge of section 304 (II) – culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The prosecution, however, pleaded that this is not the stage to decide which charge is applicable.

After hearing both the sides, the court, too, observed that it is a serious case and a detailed investigation is needed. The court hence said there is a need to grant police custody of the accused.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 11:37 IST