Delhi Police on Sunday arrested building owner Rehan and his manager Furkan in connection with the Anaj Mandi fire incident, which claimed 43 lives.
He was booked by police under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter).
Delhi Police DCP North Monika Bhardwaj: Owner of the building Rehan and his manager Furkan have been arrested. We are investigating the matter. From the information we have, more or less there is no possibility of more bodies being recovered #DelhiFire pic.twitter.com/CMutI77ryo— ANI (@ANI) December 8, 2019
The fire broke out in the second floor of the four-storey building in the early hours and 30 fire tenders were pressed into service, fire officials said.
150 fire personnel carried out the rescue operation and pulled out 63 people from the building.
While 43 labourers died, two fire personnel also sustained injuries while carrying out rescue operations, fire officials said.
The Delhi government has ordered a probe into the incident and sought a detailed report within seven days. An ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each has been announced for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 1 lakh for those injured.
Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the site of the fire accident which was clogged with bystanders and politicians arriving in convoys.
Firemen made their way through narrow lanes to rescue those trapped inside the blackened building and carried many unconscious labourers on their backs.
Fire officials said the congested area made it difficult for them to carry out rescue operations. Many of those killed and injured were fast asleep when the fire broke out.
As the building lacked proper ventilation, most of the people died due to asphyxia.
At the three hospitals where the dead and injured were taken - RML, LNJP and Hindu Roa - distraught relatives tried to locate their family members.
Manoj (23), a resident of Begusarai in Bihar, said his brother Naveen (18) was working in a handbag manufacturing unit operating from the premises.
"I got a call from his friend informing that he has been injured in the incident. I have no clue which hospital he has been taken to," he said.
According to an unidentified elderly man whose three nephews were working in the factory, "At least 12-15 machines were installed in the unit. I have no idea about the factory owner.
"My nephews Mohammed Imran and Ikramuddin were inside the factory. I don't know their whereabouts," the man said.
According to him, many units were operating from the premises which was located in a congested area.
Many people trapped inside were rescued and rushed to RML Hospital, LNJP and Hindu Rao Hospital, fire officials said.
Thirty-four people were brought dead to LNJP hospital and smoke inhalation was the primary cause of the death. Some of the bodies were charred, Dr Kishore Singh, Medical Superintendent, LNJP, said.
He said, “Deaths have been mostly due to smoke inhalation and suffocation. The condition of those injured is not serious. They have been kept under observation."
Out of the 15 injured brought to LNJP, nine people are under observation and others have partial injuries, he said.
Power discom BYPL said the fire broke out due to some "internal system" in the building.
A spokesperson of power discom BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BRPL) said that a team of BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) immediately disconnected the electricity supply.
"It appears that the fire started in the internal system of the building," he said.
The electricity metres of the building were placed on ground floor and were found to be intact, he added.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues Imran Hussain and Satyendra Jain visited the incident spot to take stock of the situation.
Earlier in a tweet, he described the fire incident as tragic and said firemen were doing their best.
"V v tragic news. Rescue operations going on. Firemen doing their best. Injured are being taken to hospitals," the chief minister said in a tweet.
A host of leaders including Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri, Anurag Thakur, BJP MPs Manoj Tiwari and Vijay Goel were among those who visited the spot on Rani Jhansi Road.
Building didn't have fire clearance
The four-storey building in Anaj Mandi area of north Delhi where a blaze broke out did not have a fire clearance, said the Delhi Fire Service.
According to Delhi Fire Service Director Atul Garg, the building did not have a fire clearance and no fire safety equipment was found installed on the premises.
Delhi government orders probe
The Delhi government on Sunday ordered a probe into the fire incident in Anaj Mandi area here and sought a detailed report within seven days.
Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot directed district magistrate (central) to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within seven days.
President Kovind, PM Modi condole deaths
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed their condolences over the tragic fire in a factory in Delhi's Rani Jhansi area in which 43 people lost their lives.
Both the heads of the country took Twitter to send their messages and prayers for the recovery of those suffered injuries.
Kejriwal announces Rs 10 lakh compensation
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the Anaj Mandi fire mishap that claimed at least 43 lives and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs each to the kin of the dead and Rs one lakh to injured.
Sonia Gandhi urges authorities to provide all assistance
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday expressed her deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the fire at a factory here and urged authorities of the central and state governments to provide all assistance to victims and their kin.
Case registered against building owner
Delhi Police DCP North Monika Bhardwaj said that the owner of the building, Rehan, against whom a case has been registered under section 304 IPC, is currently absconding.
PM Modi announces Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives in the Anaj Mandi fire.
(With inputs from Agencies and ENS)