New Delhi: Preeti Aggarwal, the Mayor of North Delhi, on Sunday issued a clarification after a video, showing her cautioning officials from saying anything against the firecracker factory blaze that took place in Delhi's Bawana Industrial Area, became viral on social media.
''A video of me is being made viral on social media and has been re-tweeted by Delhi CM as well. I only made some inquiry about the place from my co-workers and I meant we shouldn't say anything about such unfortunate incident at this time,'' Preeti Aggarwal said.
The NDMC mayor had come under fire due to the video, which was even re-tweeted by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and several AAP supporters on Twitter and other social networking websites.
The mayor, who had gone to the spot to take stock of the situation, was caught on camera reportedly saying that since the factory was registered with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), she would not like to speak anything on the matter.
"Is factory ki license humare paas hai, isliye kuch nai bolna (The license of this factory is with us, so we should not speak against it),'' she is believed to have told officials, which was recorded on camera.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government quickly grabbed the opportunity to attack the BJP, which controls NDMC and said that a thorough probe would be conducted into the mater.
#WATCH: In the aftermath of Bawana factory fire, BJP leader & North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Preeti Aggarwal caught on cam telling her aide, 'iss factory ki licensing hamare paas hai isliye hum kuch nahi bol sakte.' The incident has claimed 17 lives. #Delhi pic.twitter.com/zXfVjNADl2
— ANI (@ANI) January 21, 2018
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday said the matter will be fully probed on how the licence was given, who gave the licence and how the incident happened.
Responding to it, the NDMC mayor said, ''This industrial area is under DSIDC and land allotment has been done by the Delhi government. They should at least see what work is being done there. Is making a fake video viral and confusing public is fair?''
'' It's condemnable and I expect Arvind Kejriwal Ji to apologise,'' Aggarwal said.
This industrial area is under DSIDC & land allotment has been done by Delhi government. They should at least see what work is being done there. Is making a fake video viral & confusing public is fair? It's condemnable & I expect Arvind Kejriwal Ji to apologise: Preeti Aggarwal pic.twitter.com/IYhcNsr9Nu
— ANI (@ANI) January 21, 2018
Manoj Tiwari, the Delhi BJP chief, also hit back, saying the AAP should apologise for spreading lies against his party.
Meanwhile, the owner of a firecracker unit in outer Delhi's Bawana industrial area where a massive fire broke out on Saturday resulting in the death of at least 17 people has now been arrested by the Delhi Police.
Manoj Jain, the co-owner of the unit who was taken into custody late on Saturday, has been arrested, Rohini Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajneesh Gupta informed reporters.
"Manoj Jain has been apprehended. As per the information, the two partners were there. Manoj Jain and Lalit Goel. It is to be verified whether they are the owners or have taken the premises on rent," he said.
Gupta also said that as per an injured labour of the factory, packing was being done in the factory.
"The crackers used to come from outside," he said. The cause of the fire is not yet known," DCP Gupta said.
A man who jumped from the second floor of the building in a bid to save himself later succumbed to injuries at a hospital.
The victims were trapped in the basement, first and second floors when the fire spread from the basement to the floors above, the police officer said.
The industrial area recorded three fires on Saturday - the first around 4 pm in a carpet manufacturing company in Sector 1, the second in the firecracker unit in Sector 5, and the third in Sector 3 at 7.30 pm.
"We had received three calls. One was from 3:55 at Sector 1 from a carpet manufacturing company, the second was at 6:20 from bomb storage factory and third was at 7:30 from Sector 3," said GC Mishra director, Delhi Fire Department.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday visited the incident spot and ordered an inquiry into the Bawana Industrial area fire.
"It is an unfortunate incident. The Delhi government has ordered an inquiry into it. After inquiry, we will get to know the reason of the fire," he said.
"The loss is irreparable. The Delhi government will give an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs to the family of the people, killed in the fire and Rs 1 lakh to the injured," he announced.
The bodies of the deceased people have been sent for post-mortem, while injured have been admitted to the hospital, the Chief Minister said.
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manoj Tiwari and Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta and North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Preety Agarwal also reached the spot.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister JP Nadda directed Health Secretary to provide immediate assistance to victims of the fire tragedy and also asked AIIMS Trauma Centre to be on alert.
NDMC mayor Aggarwal later said that the situation is now under control.
"I received information about the incident on phone at around 9 pm and we immediately rushed to the spot. The situation is under control now," she told media.
Delhi Industries Minister Satyendar Jain also took cognizance of the tragedy and tweeted, "Learnt about a serious fire incident in a private factory at Bawana. Several casualties. Monitoring the situation. Have ordered an inquiry."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over it and said, "My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. May those who are injured recover quickly."
Meanwhile, a blame game has also started between BJP and the AAP over the tragedy with the latter blaming the former for granting licence to the factory owners without proper verification and keeping mum after the incident.
The bodies have been kept in the mortuary for identification. The relatives of some of the deceased and the injured have been informed.
(With Agency inputs)