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Delhi fire tragedy: Building owner, 2 others arrested (Ld)

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New Delhi, May 15 (Ajit Weekly News) The police have arrested three persons in connection with the fire accident at a multi-storey building on May 13 here in Mundka that left at least 27 people dead.

The arrested individuals have been identified as Manish Lakra — the owner of the building, and Harish Goel and Varun Goel — owners of a firm named Cofe Impax Pvt Ltd., the police said on Sunday.

So far, only eight of the 27 bodies have been identified.

The eight deceased have been identified as Tania Bhushan, Mohini Pal, Yashoda Devi, Ranju Devi, Vishal, Drishti, Kailash Jyani and Amit Jyani.

Officials said that most of the bodies were burnt to such an extent that even it was difficult to establish whether the charred remains were of a man or a woman.

However, two days after the incident, the medics have now found that of the 27 dead, 14 are females and three males.

The unidentified bodies have been placed in the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s Mortuary here in Mangolpuri.

“We have collected the DNA samples of the rest of the bodies. As soon as DNA matching is completed, we will get to know their identities,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Sameer Sharma said, adding it might take 4-5 days more.

“On the fateful day, a sales motivational programme was conducted by the said company and at about 4 p.m., all employees were on the 2nd floor. Due to the sudden fire break-out many people got trapped and could not come out as there was a lot of fire and smoke inside the building and there is only one exit point at the back side of the building,” the senior police officer said.

During the rescue operation, 50-60 people were safely rescued jointly by the police, Fire Department and the local people.

Later, the police registered an FIR under sections 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide), 120 (Concealing design to commit offence punishable with imprisonment) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Both Harish Goel and Varun Goel were arrested a day after the incident but the owner of the building Manish Lakra was absconding.

Subsequently, a police team was constituted which tracked his locations, and Lakra was arrested from Ghevra Mod in west Delhi, near the Haryana-Delhi border.

During the preliminary enquiry, it was revealed that Lakra was present at his residence on the top floor at the time of the incident.

“When he sensed that smoke was coming, he immediately left everything and rushed out of the building,” DCP Sameer Sharma said.

He was residing there with his wife, mother and two kids in a 2-BHK flat.

Lakra had also switched off and destroyed his mobile phone so that he could not be located.

“However, we consistently pressurised his friends and family members which ultimately led to the revelation of his location,” the DCP said.

Lakra revealed that he stayed at a temple in Haryana and slept there during the night to evade his arrest.

“When we arrested him, he was trying to flee to Haridwar,” the police officer said, adding, he had also, during his absconding period, collected money from one of his friends.

His wife and mother are still missing.

The DCP said the police were questioning Lakra.

–Ajit Weekly News

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