Mumbai: Ramesh Govani, the owner of Kamala Mills, was arrested by the NM Joshi Marg police on Monday evening in connection with the blaze at two open-air pubs that claimed 14 lives and injured 55 others on December 29. He was arrested from suburban Chembur.
Govani had given a statement to the police that he was unaware of illegal alterations carried out on the Kamala Mills premises and had merely leased out 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro. The tarpaulin sheets and bamboo sticks in 1Above, it is suspected, had fueled the fire that originated at Mojo’s Bistro.
Govani has been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304) of the Indian Penal Code. His name has been added in the FIR along with those of the other accused, informed Virendra Mishra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 3). More than a fortnight after the tragedy, this will be the eighth big arrest made in the case, where the rich and mighty have been charged with non-compliance of safety norms and negligence resulting in loss of lives.
On Sunday, the Mumbai Police had also arrested Kamala Mills director Ravi Surajmal Bhandari, Fire Brigade officer Rajendra Baban Patil and Utkarsh Vinod Pande, the owner of the hookah company Nirvana on various charges in the case. Earlier in the day, families of two people who lost their lives in the massive fire strongly opposed the granting of bail to the accused by a Mumbai court.
Govani, in his earlier statement to the police, had washed his hands of the matter by claiming said that the owners of the pubs had to complete the BMC and the fire brigade formalities. Govani has been also named in another FIR which was registered on the complaint of the BMC under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act. The Govanis have been in the construction business for the last six decades.