Kamala Mills fire tragedy: FIRs lodged against Mumbai pub owners, 'look-out notices' for absconders

The Mumbai Police on Saturday lodged three new FIRs against defaulter pub owners and issued a look-out notice against them.

Kamala Mills fire tragedy: FIRs lodged against Mumbai pub owners, 'look-out notices' for absconders

Mumbai: Cracking the whip against the defaulter pub owners here, the Mumbai Police on Saturday lodged three new FIRs against them and issued a lookout notice for the absconders, a day after a massive blaze in Kamala Mills Compound claimed the lives of at least 14 people and left 55 others injured.

The authorities also set up five teams to trace the owners of 1Above pub, Hitesh Sanghvi, his brother Jigar Sanghvi and partner Abhijit Manka, and Yug Pathak, a co-owner of The Mojos Bistro, who is the son of a retired IPS officer.

Simultaneously, police issued a "look-out notice" to prevent them from leaving the country as teams were sent to Pune and other cities in search of the absconders. 

Meanwhile, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) today lodged an FIR against the owner of Kamala Mills, Ramesh Govani and others who are still not traceable.

The BMC complaint was lodged under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP), the reports said.

In an action-packed day, the civic officials demolished illegal structures at 314 sites and sealed seven hotels. The BMC initiated an inspection drive of 624 restaurants, eateries and malls across the city and its suburbs and razed illegal and unauthorised structures.

In what is billed as the single biggest demolitions in a day, several illegal constructions were razed at major locations within the Kamala Mills Compound and the adjacent Raghuvanshi Mills and Phoenix Mills complexes, and other places in the city and suburbs.

IANS quoted a senior BMC official as saying that today's mega-demolition drive covered around 200 locations across Mumbai, but largely concentrated in Lower Parel-Mahalaxmi areas.

The demolition squads targeted illegal extensions to premises, decorative arches and metal grilles inside or outside, double-triple or revolving doors, raised entrances/exits, ornamental fixtures and fittings, massive flower pots or plants, unauthorized temporary roofs, walls, partitions, any external/internal obstacles to free movements, etc which could prove to be a safety hazard in case of an emergency like Friday's fire.

The civic officials demolished illegal structures at 314 sites and sealed seven hotels. The BMC initiated an inspection drive of 624 restaurants, eateries and malls across the city and its suburbs and razed illegal and unauthorised structures.

The erstwhile 50-plus textile mills, which used to churn out lakhs of metres of cotton fabrics daily, went silent after the Great Bombay Textile strike of 1982. 

Spread across the prime real estate of more than 500 acres in south-central Mumbai, they have now been transformed into glittering corporate, media, communications, glamour and eating hubs, besides some of the tallest and most expensive residential and commercial towers in the vicinity.

BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta announced setting up of 25 teams, which will inspect the implementation of safety norms at all hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, malls in the sprawling Kamala Mills Compound and other surrounding areas in Lower Parel.

In fact, the preliminary inspection by the BMC on Friday detected an unauthorized partition wall and two rooms, besides an illegal plastic roof supported with bamboos, which were reduced to ashes in the early Friday morning blaze.

Amidst a public uproar with the fire incident figuring in Parliament on Friday, the BMC suspended five officials including a fire brigade officer, hours after the conflagration.

Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, however, termed the ongoing demolitions as "a mere eyewash" in view of the public anger and demanded the suspension of the BMC commissioner for the lapses over which he is presiding.

The leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Radhakrisha Vikhe-Patil, who demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, called for the removal of Mehta and holding him responsible for Friday's tragedy.

Incidentally, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activist Mangesh Kashalkar, a social activist Ilyas Ejaz Khan and RTI activist Anil Galgali said they have lodged several complaints against the illegalities perpetrated in the commercial establishments in Lower Parel-Mahalaxmi area, but the BMC officials ignored them.

Mumbai Police went into a high-security mode on Saturday with stringent arrangements, catching all those violating traffic rules, carrying random checking of vehicles, setting up roadblocks, detecting inebriated drivers and other offences in preparation for the New Year's Eve celebrations on Sunday.

It also came to light that most of these pub owners were earlier served with several notices by the BMC for flouting safety norms and violation of building construction rulers, but they never paid any heed to them.

(With Agency inputs)

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