A day after a major fire swept through four floors of the Maharashtra secretariat building, two more bodies were recovered from the premises yesterday, taking the death toll to five. The two deceased have been identified as Tukaram More and Mohan More, both Mantralaya employees.
The Marine Drive police have registered five accidental death reports (ADRs) and the Crime Branch will now investigate the matter and register further cases, if necessary. Crime Branch officers, meanwhile, are extensively searching the fire-damaged sections of the building, but have not ascertained the cause of the fire. All 12 units of the Crime Branch have been pressed into service to determine the exact cause of the fire. Forensic experts from Kalina have also been roped in to examine the premises.
Preliminary investigations by Crime Branch officers reveal that the fire started on the fourth floor near the office of Tribal Affairs Minister, Babanrao Pachpute, and then spread to the fifth, sixth and seventh floor of the seven-storey building.
Sources from the CB informed that they would record statements of all people, including the ministers present at the time of the fire, to ascertain where exactly the fire started.
The crime branch has managed to recover the CCTV footage of the fourth and the fifth floors from the server room located on the ground floor of the Mantralaya.
But the CCTV recordings of the sixth and the seventh floor have been completely destroyed, as the server room is located on the sixth floor. “We have learnt that there is one more server room for the sixth and seventh floor and we are in the process of recovering footage from there,” said a police officer from the Crime Branch.
“We went to the fourth and fifth floor to carry out panchnamas to ascertain the loss, but were unable to go to the sixth and seventh floor, as it was still hot,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (Crime).
“We are video recording the entire panchnama process, and intend to find out if the fire was due to sabotage or due to short-circuit,” added Roy. The Crime Branch is also taking the help of forensic experts from Kalina to find out if any inflammable substance is present at site, and have taken samples from the spot.
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