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Mumbai pub fire: Hunt for elusive owners, cracks down on illegal structures

DH News Service, Mumbai, Dec 30 2017, 21:58 IST
BMC bulldozer takes down illegally constructed eateries in the Kamala Mills compound following the fire incident. PTI

BMC bulldozer takes down illegally constructed eateries in the Kamala Mills compound following the fire incident. PTI

A day after the devastating fire at restaurants and pubs in the Kamala Mills compound here claimed 14 lives, the Mumbai police registered a fresh set of FIRs and launched a massive manhunt for the owners of the establishments.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) began a crackdown against illegal structures and encroachments in eateries in the wake of the inferno at '1 Above' and 'Mojo's Bistro' early Friday.

In the action, 300 plus illegal structures in bars and pubs were pulled down in Mumbai city as well as the eastern and western suburbs through the day. A nearly 1,200 to 1,500 strong demolition squad carried out a coordinated crackdown.

"The drive will continue," a senior BMC official said, adding that weekly offs were put off by most of the departments in view of the incident, to ensure that such mishaps do not repeat in India's financial capital.

A portion of the Zaffran Hotel located near the Mumbai Police headquarters and several suburban hotels were targeted during the crackdown. The central Mumbai region – where several mills have been transformed into malls - were also scanned and illegal structures brought down. In Kamala Mills compound too, several popular restaurants and hangouts or part of illegal constructions were razed.

Lookout notices were issued against brothers Hitesh and Jigar Sanghvi, besides Abhijeet Manka, the co-owners of '1 Above', run by C Grade Hospitality. The trio were absconding for the second day after the police booked them for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


Illegal extensions

The cops also registered an FIR against some of the co-owners of Mojo's Bistro for illegal constructions.

The owner of Kamala Mills compound, Ramesh Govani, also appears to be in trouble. "Why has the owner not been booked so far. How such structures came up," asked Mumbai South constituency's Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant.

Another FIR was registered under relevant sections of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act against illegal extensions on a complaint by the BMC.


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