SURAT: Four more persons were arrested Tuesday in connection with the fire at a commercial complex in Surat Sarthana area on May 24 which killed 22 youngsters in an art and craft coaching centre there, police said.
The fire had engulfed the four-storeyed Takshashila Arcade and a preliminary probe had revealed that use of highly inflammable materials and tyres, which doubled up as chairs in the coaching class, caused the fire to spread rapidly.
Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma Tuesday said investigations had revealed that eight air-conditioners were on in the coaching centre despite it having no legal electricity connection.
Sharma identified the arrested persons as Ravindra Kumar, a builder-partner who allegedly flouted construction rules, Surat Municipal Corporation Executive Engineer PD Munshi, SMC official Jayesh Solanki and Deepak Nayak, deputy engineer of Sarthana unit of the Dakshin Gujarat Vij Corporation Limited (DGVCL).
"Munshi took impact fee and regularised the illegal construction. Solanki played a role in regularising a part of building constructed in an unauthorised manner," Sharma said.
"Despite the tuition class having no legal electricity connection, eight air conditioners were running. Carelessness was shown in the safety mechanism of the building in terms of electricity connection," the commissioner said.
"The electric meter was receiving much more load than what was shown, which indicates huge irregularity on the part of electricity department," Sharma said.
With this, the number of people arrested in the case has gone up to nine.
Among the five arrested earlier were Bhargav Butani, owner of the coaching class, and builders Harshul Vekaria and Jignesh Paghdal.