Mundka Fire: Manish Lakra, Owner of Building Where 27 Died, Arrested
The NHRC on Sunday expressed serious concern over the incident and reported callousness of authorities.
Manish Lakra, owner of the four-storey office complex in Delhi’s Mundka, which caught fire on Friday, 13 May, has been arrested after the Delhi police carried out multiple raids in Delhi and Haryana.
At least 27 people died in the fire on Saturday.
According to The Indian Express, DCP (outer) Sameer Sharma said:
“We have nabbed Manish Lakra. Raids were done and he was nabbed.”
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, has ordered a Magisterial inquiry into the incident. The District Magistrate (West) will ascertain violations of laws and rules by the building owner and tenants, reported Times of India.
It will also carry out investigation to find the lapses committed by the concerned departments/agencies and their officials and recommend action against them. Remedial measures to prevent such tragedies in future will also be suggested.
Previously, on Saturday, the Delhi Police had arrested Harish Goel and Vijay Goel, owners of a company in the building. The father of these two men, Amarnath Goel, was among those killed in the fire.
Soon after the arrest of two men, Lakra, who owns the building, went absconding. The building reportedly did not have a safety clearance from the fire department.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressed serious concern over the fire incident in Mundka and reported callousness of authorities.
The human rights body has called for a report from the Delhi government in two weeks and has also decided to send its team for an on-the-spot investigation.
What Transpired After the Incident?
On Saturday, 13 May, after the Mundka police station was alerted about the fire outbreak, alert staff including SHO Mundka, beat staff and highway patrolling staff rushed to the spot.
"An instant message was given to the fire brigade and the fire brigade team reached at the spot and started extinguishing the fire. During enquiry, it was revealed that Manish Lakra, son of Baljeeet Lakra, is the owner of the building, who used to reside at its top floor," said Delhi police in a press statement.
There is a shop on the ground floor of the building, while a company named “Cofe Impax Pvt Ltd” was operating at its 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.
The company was involved in importing parts of CCTV Cameras and SIM Routers. Approximately 100 employees had been working at the company and a motivational programme was also underway at the second floor when the incident happened.
"Due to the sudden fire break-out many people were trapped inside the building and couldn’t come out as there was a lot of fire & smoke inside the building. There is only one exit point at the back side in the building. The FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) mobile team and Outer district mobile crime team was called at the spot for carrying out rescue operations," police said.
How the Police Carried Out the Arrests
Delhi police said it formed a dedicated team under the supervision of DCP/Outer District to nab the persons who were responsible for the crime.
"During the investigation, it was found that Manish Lakra had given the building on rent to Harish Goel and Varun Goel, who were running the CCTV company in the building," Delhi police said in a press statement.
21 Women Among 27 Dead
Out of the 27 deceased, 21 were women. Several of them had taken up jobs to support their families after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
The list of missing persons however has 29 names, out of which 24 are women.
Till now, however, only eight victims - Tania Bhushan, Mohini Pal, Yashoda Devi, Ranju Devi, Vishal, Drishti, Kailash Jyani, Amit Jayani - have been identified.
Delhi police said the bodies of the other unidentified victims are preserved in SGM Hospital Mortuary, Mangolpuri.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh each for kin of the deceased, and Rs 50,000 for those who have sustained injuries. He has also reportedly ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)
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