NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today asked the police to produce before it on January 24 the arrested owner of the firecracker storage unit in Bawana area here, where 17 people were killed in a massive blaze.
The order was passed after the court was informed by the police that enough staff was not available due to preparations and full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jitendra Pratap Singh allowed the application of investigating officer Sandeep Singh seeking that production warrant be issued against accused Manoj Jain, currently lodged in Tihar jail, for January 24.
"The Investigating Officer (IO) submits that accused was to be produced today from the judicial custody but because of Republic Day arrangement, sufficient police was not available.
"The IO submits that since the full dress rehearsal for Republic Day is scheduled for January 23, it was highly likely that the accused would not be produced tomorrow," the magistrate noted in his order.
During the hearing, advocate Pradeep Rana, appearing for Jain, opposed the application saying in the absence of a specific order regarding custody of the accused, any further custody would be illegal.
The court took note of this submission and said it will be considered on the next date of hearing when the accused is produced.
"In accordance with the prayer of the IO, production warrant of the accused be issued for January 24. Copy of this order be sent to the DCP, 3rd Battallion as well as to Jail Superintendent to ensure that the accused is positively produced on January 24," the court said.
The police had yesterday arrested Jain, 49, in connection with the fire tragedy which took place on January 20.
A probe revealed it was a factory of "cold firecrackers" used in stage shows and Holi celebrations, the police had said.
The fire had started in the storage unit on the ground floor of the two-storey building and ripped through the structure. Of the 17 killed, ten were women. A man and woman were also injured.
Police said an FIR had been registered under Indian Penal Code sections relating to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible material. The maximum punishment under the sections is 10 years.