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Relatives arrested for providing accused shelter after incident

Monday, January 01, 2018
By Zuber Ansari

The Byculla police arrested two relatives of the ‘1-Above’ pub owner yesterday for allegedly providing shelter to the ones booked by the NM Joshi Marg police station in the Kamala Mills fire incident which claimed 14 lives. Police arrested the pub-owners' uncle Rakesh Sanghvi and cousin Aditya Sanghvi from their Mazgaon residence, while the search for Mahendra Sanghvi continues. They have been booked under Section 216 (harbouring an offender who has escaped from custody or whose apprehension has been ordered) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Pub owners Hitesh Sanghvi and Jigar Sanghvi, co-owner Abhijeet Manka and others have been booked on various charges, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. After the horrific incident, the city police had issued lookout notices against the Sanghvi brothers on December 30. They are yet to be arrested and efforts to trace them are underway.

According to NM Joshi Marg police sources, around 27 eyewitnesses' statements have been recorded, even as the search for more eyewitnesses continues.

On Friday, the police had booked the Sanghvi brothers, Manka and others under IPC Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

However, the pub had in a statement claimed that it had all the necessary approvals and safety norms in place. It had also blamed Mojo’s Bistro on the floor below for not having an emergency exit, leading to overcrowding of the escape avenues of 1 Above.

The massive fire that swept through the pub left 14 people dead and 21 injured. Among those killed was Khushbu Bansali, who was celebrating her 29th birthday. Two separate FIR's have been registered against the owners of Mojo’s Bistro and the 1 Above pub, a senior police official had earlier said.

In the wake of the fire incident, police on December 30 registered three cases against the mall and pub owners on charges of illegal construction, officials said.

While demolition around the city is in full swing from that day, multiple FIR's were registered by the police and BMC has sealed various pubs in the city for violating the BMC and city police norms.

Demolitions continue on day two
The BMC continued with its demolition drive yesterday cracking down on 357 restaurants and pubs, with 30 places that failed to comply with the safety norms or had illegal constructions being sealed off. About 616 establishments were checked, with 357 being either partially or fully demolished.  The joints sealed, include 22 in the 'L' ward, 3 each in S and R North wards and one in the D ward.

In addition, 426 cylinders have also been seized during yesterday's action. An illegal hookah parlor operating on the Shivdas Chapli Road in the E ward was also raided, with at least 60 hookahs being seized, along with other materials.

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