Police have arrested the owner of the Surat coaching centre in which a massive fire had erupted Friday claiming lives of 20 persons, mostly teenage students.
Two builders of the commercial Takshashila Complex in Sarthana area, the site of the inferno, are on the run, Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma told reporters Saturday.
"Have arrested the man who used to conduct the tuition classes. All type of tuition classes have been stopped for now, classes can only be conducted after the required fire safety checks are done & a fire safety certificate has been obtained," said Satish Sharma, Surat top cop.
"Police filed an FIR against three people including builders of the complex- Harshal Vekaria and Jignesh, and the owner of the coaching centre Bhargav Bhutani", he said further.
"We have already arrested Butani. Hunt is on to nab the remaining two," Sharma said.
“As per the information received, 20 students have died in the fire. Many others were injured and shifted to a hospital,” said Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.
The building, Takshashila Complex, housed a tuition centre and other establishments.
According to reports, students preparing for their Class 10 and Class 12 boards exams were in coaching centre at the time of the incident. Some reports said there were around 50 students in the complex.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat Government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 24, 2019
“Students on the fourth and third floor jumped off to save themselves from fire and smoke. Many have been rescued and sent to hospital,” said fire officials.
At least 11 students have been admitted to various hospitals in the vicinity, said Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani while announcing a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the kin of the deceased. He also announced an inquiry into the incident.
Nineteen fire tenders and two hydraulic platforms were pressed into service for dousing and rescue operations, fire officials said. Local residents were seen helping in the rescue operation to save the stranded students and other occupants of the building.
Disturbing visuals of students trying to save themselves by jumping off the building went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, municipal authorities in Ahmedabad ordered the closure of all coaching classes to check whether they follow fire safety norms.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed anguish over the fire tragedy.
(With PTI and ENS inputs)