Mundka fire: Delhi civic body suspends three officials; cops get one-day custody of owners

Licensing Inspector Sandeep Kaushik, Section Officer of General Branch S K Sharma, and Section Officer of House Tax Department B R Meena of the Narela Zone were suspended.

Published: 17th May 2022 10:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2022 10:55 PM   |  A+A-

Security personnel and media at the site, as NDRF carries out rescue and relief work after a fire in Mundka. ( Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

Security personnel and media at the site, as NDRF carries out rescue and relief work after a fire in Mundka. ( Photo | Parveen Negi, EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Tuesday suspended three officials in the Narenla Zone for alleged laxity in duty following the massive fire in a building in Mundka that claimed 27 lives.

According to an official statement, Licensing Inspector Sandeep Kaushik, Section Officer of General Branch S K Sharma, and Section Officer of House Tax Department B R Meena of the Narela Zone were suspended.

"Prima facie, it appears to be laxity on the part of the officials of general branch, house tax department and erstwhile building department of the then Najafgarh Zone of unified MCD," the statement said.

It also said that 44 establishments were found running without a valid health trade license and also without a no-objection certificate from the fire department.

"To prevent recurrence of such incident, all Deputy Commissioners of Zones and officers of Factory Licensing Department and Health Department have been directed to carry out a detailed survey of unauthorized factory units and restaurants operating in non-conforming areas and without proper FIR/NOC and Health Licence etc," the statement said.

A survey in three zones of the North Delhi civic body has been completed in non-conforming and conforming areas.

"In City SP zone, 44 units were found running without licence and 18 without fire NOC. In Rohini zone, 20 units were found operating in non-conforming areas and 20 without Fire NOC," the statement said.

It said that the building which caught fire had a basement, the ground, first, second and the third floor.

Two rooms with a tin shed were on the fourth floor.

A local enquiry has revealed the basement was being used for storage and the ground floor was vacant.

The road on which the building was situated was of neither commercial nor mixed land use category, the statement said.

"Further, according to records of the Building Department of Narela Zone, the building is about 11 years old. The property was booked by then Najafgarh Zone on March 8, 2011, and June 20, 2011."

"The owner of the building has paid conversion charges from 2016 to 2018 on basis of self-assessment. No ongoing construction is noticed there. The owner has never applied for sanction of the building plan," the civic body said. It said the building was being used for industrial purposes which is not allowed. No valid factory license has been issued at this location," it said.

The statement stated that the department was not aware of the fire no-objection certificate.

The civic body added that conversion charges of Rs 4 lakh and parking charges of Rs 2.66 lakh and Rs 93,188 penalty have been paid only between 2016 and 2018 for the ground floor area.

"Going by the record, no property tax has been paid by the owner/occupier of the premises and notices were issued by the department. Action against the building was taken in 2019," the statement said.

It said on the directions of a monitoring committee, a liquor shop on the ground floor of the building was sealed in January 2019.

Following further orders in July 2019, the property was de-sealed after removing the belongings and since then the ground floor is lying vacant.

"Further, show-cause notices to Dy. A&C and Joint Assessor and Collector of Narela Zone have been issued. Disciplinary proceedings have also been initiated against the then area Junior Engineer of the building department in Narela Zone/Najafgarh Zone posting during January 2011 to December 2011, when the alleged construction took place," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police on Tuesday got one-day custody of three men, including the building owner, as part of the probe into the massive fire.

Out of the 16 people injured, at least 10 have recorded their statements.

Besides them, statements of the witnesses are being recorded, they said.

A Delhi Court handed one-day police custody of the building owner Manish Lakra and two brothers -- Vijay and Harish Goel -- who rented two floors in the building to run their business, for further investigation, a senior police officer said.

"We need to collect blood samples of the brothers -- Vijay and Harish Goel. Also, we need to know their background, company details and permissions taken by them from the authorities concerned," Sameer Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer), said.

Sharma said the police are yet to verify Lakra's documents.

The officer said the police are asking the authorities concerned, including the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, to give documents pertaining to the building and the businesses there for investigation.

"More than 100 exhibits have been received by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). We have formed multiple teams for DNA examination. Now that we have received the samples, we are proceeding with the entire process of DNA profiling. Since it is a complex process, it takes time," a senior FSL official said.

DNA sampling generally takes about one to two weeks.

It also depends on the condition of the samples, the official said.

Lakra was arrested from Ghevra Mod while he was en route to Haridwar in Uttarakhand on Sunday, two days after the incident.

He was running a real estate business and also owned a shop on the ground floor of the building, police said, adding that his family members are yet to be traced.

Lakra used to live in a two-room-kitchen house with his mother, wife and two children on the fourth floor of the same building.

They managed to escape to the adjacent building when the fire broke out, police had earlier said.

The fire is suspected to have broken out at a firm that manufactured and assembled CCTV cameras and routers, and it has been operating in the building since 2017.



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