Free Press Journal

Kamala Mills fire: Bombay HC asks probe panel to submit report on September 10



Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the committee probing the Kamala Mills Compound fire incident that claimed 14 lives to submit its report before the court on September 10. In April this year, the high court had ordered that a three-member committee be set up to conduct an inquiry into the incident that took place last year.

The panel was later set up and it is headed by retired chief justice A V Savant and has two other members — Vasant Thakur, an architect on one of the high court panels, and former chief secretary K Nalinakshan. The committee was directed earlier to submit its report to the high court on August 31.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) moved an application today before a division bench of Justices B R Gavai and M S Karnik seeking an extension of the time granted to the committee to submit its report.

“The committee has completed its proceedings. All the data is being compiled and the report is being prepared. The committee has sought time till September 10 to submit its final report to the high court,” BMC’s counsel Anil Sakhare told the court.

The bench accepted the request and said the committee shall submit its report on September 10. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, seeking, among other things, a judicial inquiry into the fire tragedy. The committee has to inquire if there were any violations of norms by the landowners or restaurants in the Kamala Mills Compound.

It has to probe if the immediate and probable cause of fire was due to violations of the sanctioned plans and approvals granted by various authorities. It has to consider if there was any dereliction of duty on part of the civic body and government officials. The committee also has to recommend measures to be taken to avoid repetition of such incidents and other fire safety compliance steps.

On the night of December 29 last year, there was a major fire at the Mojo’s Bistro restaurant in the Kamala Mills Compound located in Lower Parel area. The blaze subsequently spread to the adjoining restaurant, ‘1 Above’. Fourteen people were killed and several others injured in the incident.

The BMC in its inquiry had claimed that there were large-scale construction irregularities and violations of safety norms at the site of the tragedy.