Observing that its is the responsibility of the mall’s administrator to prevent hazards to people, a sessions court has granted protection from arrest to father-son duo and Housing Development Infrastructure Limited (HDIL) promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan in a culpable homicide case lodged following a fire in a Bhandup mall last year that had led to deaths of 11 persons in a hospital at the mall’s third floor.
The duo were directors of Dreams The Mall Company (DTMC) that owns Dreams Mall in the central suburb.
On March 25 last year, a fire had erupted on the ground floor of the mall and the smoke from it led to the death of 11 persons admitted in Sunrise Hospital on the building’s third floor.
A healthcare firm had purchased part of the third floor of the mall in 2012 and redeveloped it to run a hospital. The hospital, which had not got an occupation certificate earlier, had been allowed to operate due to the pandemic.
Additional Sessions Judge Anand P Kanade said in the order that it is not disputed that the fire originated from the ground floor and not the hospital which was on the third floor.
“It is apparent that it is the responsibility of the administrator to prevent any hazards to the people or public coming to the mall,” the court observed.
The court also pointed out that the investigating officer in his response to a writ petition filed by the mall’s administrator, had stated that it is the administrator’s duty to keep the facilities in the mall updated. The response, it pointed out, also added that it is incumbent on the administrator to keep the fire fighting systems in working condition.
Judge Kanade further said that it can be gathered from circumstances that the firefighting system in the hospital was in working condition at the time of the incident. In similar but separate orders for the father and son, it said the custodial interrogation of the applicant is not necessary.