New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) has taken suo moto cognizance of media reports that at least 43 people were killed in fire incident at Anaj Mandi near Rani Jhansi Road in Old Delhi. The incident took place on Sunday (December 8) when a blaze caused by a short-circuit turned a five-story building in a gas chamber.
The fire, which broke in the factory, engulfed the second and third floor of the building and two other houses situated in West Delhi’s Rani Jhansi area at the time when nearly 100 to 150 people were reportedly sleeping at the place.
The building housed a dozen illegal manufacturing units and warehouses being run from ill-ventilated rooms filled with combustible material. There was just one narrow entrance to the building spread across an area of 500 square yards. The fire officials and tenders failed to reach at the site to help out suffocating people inside the building.
The Commission issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Commissioner of Police, Delhi and the Commissioner, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, calling for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks along with action taken against the errant officers/officials along with relief and rehabilitation provided to the next of kin of the deceased and the injured persons.
A case was registered under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code against building owner Rehan, who went absconding after the fire broke out. He was later detained by the Delhi Police on Sunday evening, along with manager Furkan.
Both the accused have been sent to 14-day police custody for interrogation by Delhi's Tis Hazari court on Monday (December 9).
During the case hearing, two brothers of Rehan - Imran and Shaan - were also questioned by the police since they own two-thirds of the property, police said.
The Delhi government, however, has also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and sought a report within seven days.
Meanwhile, local residents staged a protest on Monday, demanding speedy action against the guilty in the incident.