Mumbai: A massive fire, which broke out in Maharashtra's State Secretariat or the Mantralaya building in south Mumbai on Thursday, has given triggered a bitter controversy with reports claiming a sabotage angle in the incident.
Media reports claimed that the fire which started on the fourth floor of the building and later spread to the sixth floor, which houses Chief Minister’s Office, has destroyed several important documents related to the Adarsh Housing society scam, in which several Ministers in the Maharashtra government are facing inquiry.
Sources have also confirmed that files related to the Kargil war have also been damaged in the incident. When quizzed by the reporters, Maharashtra Chief Minmister Prithviraj Chavan said, “Our concern right now is to save people. Issues such as destruction of important files will be discussed later.”
Suspecting a conspiracy in the Mantralaya fire incident, the main opposition BJP has sought an explanation from the Maharashtra government regarding the safety of Adarsh scam related documents.
However, the CBI has categorically denied reports that Adarsh scam related files have been destroyed in the fire.
The central probe agency gave an assurance by saying, “All the files relevant to the Adarsh housing society scam are safe with the courts and have not been damaged as a result of the Mantralaya fire.”
The fire - supposedly caused by a short-circuit- started on the fourth floor and later spread to the sixth floor, which houses the Chief Minister’s Office; luckily Chavan was not in his office.
Indian Navy commandoes were pressed into the rescue operation. Specialist Marine Commandos also arrived with specialist equipment.
The fire reportedly started from the cabin of Maharashtra Tribal Affairs Minister Babanrao Pachpute located on the 4th floor at around 3 pm. Pachupate is from the NCP.
The Mantralaya is the State Secretariat and houses the offices of all ministers of the Maharashtra government. From the fourth floor - which houses urban development and education departments – the fire then spread to fifth and sixth floors of the building.
The landmark Mantralaya Building is located in the heart of South Mumbai very near to the Mumbai High Court.
No casualties have been reported so far as the building was evacuated soon after fire was noticed.
The police have cordoned off the area and are in control of the situation.
First Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 17:05