4 held for fire mishap

Fire dept points out lapses on the part of Carlton Towers owners

4 held for fire mishap

Ramachandra Bhandari, Rafique-ur-Rehman, Kempegowda and Chennaiah at a press meet at the Ulsoor Police station in Bangalore on Saturday. DH photo

Pressure has been mounting on the police to fix responsibility for the mishap and initiate action against those guilty of negligence. Although no one has been charged as yet, the police on Saturday evening took into custody Rafique-ur-Rehman (45), a resident of Munireddypalya, who owns a shop in the ill-fated Carlton Towers on Old Airport Road. He is also the secretary of the Carlton Towers Owners’ Association. 

Ramachandra Bhandari (54), from Kavalbyrasandra, who is the security in charge of the building; Kempegowda alias Kiran(31), from Udayanagar, the administrative and electrical supervising officer, and Chennaiah (26), a resident of C V Raman Nagar and the building maintenance officer, were the others detained by the police.

They were picked up from different parts in the City. The police are interrogating them and are trying to ascertain their role in neglecting adequate safety measures, which would have avoided the tragedy.

In another development, in a report submitted to the home secretary, the Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services has  pointed out several lapses on  the part of the building owners in adopting  safety measures.

Of the three gates inside the Towers, only one was open and the other two had been closed for the past several months.

Corridors on the second, third and fourth floors were blocked and the gates near the staircase were also closed, the report said. There are four hotels and 63 offices in the complex. Investigating officers said they were on the verge of completing the probe and a detailed report would be submitted soon.

A conditional No Objection Certificate was granted to the building in 1993.
A clearance certificate was issued in 1999. Violations took place after 1999 and the building owners never bothered to inspect the security measures. The chief electrical inspectorate will submit a report, which is expected to shed more light on the exact cause of the incident, and whether it occurred due to overloading or short circuit.

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