Rajkot Fire Tragedy: Four Govt Officials, Including Town Planning Officer, Arrested

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Rajkot Fire Tragedy: Four Govt Officials, Including Town Planning Officer, Arrested

| Updated: May 31, 2024 10:46

After the horrible fire tragedy, which took 27 lives in Rajkot, the investigating team is working overtime. Even as Rajkot Municipal Commissioner, Anand Patel, and City Police Commissioner, Raju Bhargava, have been transferred, police have arrested Town Planning Officer MD Sagathia along with two assistant TPOs, Mr. Mukesh Makwana and Mr. Gautam Joshi, as well as Fire Officer Rohit Vigora. The roles of Deputy Chief Fire Officer Bhikhabhai Theba and PGVCL Deputy Engineer SK Chauhan are also under investigation.

The accused had sent a notice to the organizers of Game Zone, but had slowed down on follow-up action., for reasons best known to them.

The TRP Gaming Zone, where the unfortunate incident occurred, was allowed to operate without having required permissions such as a no-objection certificate, an approved layout plan, a building-use certificate, and the proper fire clearances. Apparently, the game zone was operating only with an entertainment license. Mukesh Makwana sent a notice to the Game Zone in April 2023 and June 2023 for unauthorized construction, but there was no action on the compliance of the notice. Mr. Gautam Joshi, the officer who succeeded Mr. Makwana, also did not follow up, showing grave dereliction of official duty. With the arrest of four officials, the total number of arrests in this case has reached nine.

Police arrested four partners of the firm that ran the game zone, namely Yuvrajsinh Solanki, Rahul Rathod, Dhaval Thakkar, Kiritsinh Jadeja, and the manager, Nitin Jain. The DNA test of those who perished in the fire revealed that Prakash Hiran also lost his life in the fire.

The IPC sections applied to the accused are: 304 (culpable homicide), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 337 (causing hurt by an act that endangers the life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt to a person by doing an act that endangers their life or personal safety), and 114 (someone present when the offence is committed).

The Gujarat government has instituted SIT with IPS Subhash Trivedi as head. The SIT has a green signal to question even senior government officials, including IAS and IPS cadre officers. The SIT already published the preliminary report in the presence of Minister Harsh Sanghvi and Chief Secretary

The Gujarat High Court, too, has been scathing in its remarks about the functioning of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation with regard to implementing public safety regulations.

Also Read: Nine Fire Officers Accused Of Showing Fake Certificates

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