Kamala Mills Fire: Cousin used WhatsApp to help 1 Above owner evade cops

Jan 01, 2018, 08:30 IST | Anurag Kamble

Hitesh Sanghvi, the owner of 1 Above, where 14 people were killed, arrested; his uncles and cousin held for shielding him from police After a three-hour raid at a high-rise in Mazgaon, the Byculla police managed to catch him

Hitesh's cousin Aditya Sanghvi alleged that they had been tortured by the police
Hitesh's cousin Aditya Sanghvi alleged that they had been tortured by the police

After a three-hour raid at a high-rise in Mazgaon, the Byculla police managed to catch Hitesh Sanghvi, owner of 1 Above, who has been absconding since he was named as an accused in the Kamala Mills fire case. The cops also picked up two of his uncles and a cousin for allegedly helping him evade arrest.

Around 3 am on Sunday, the Byculla police took Hitesh in for questioning and also arrested his cousin Aditya, 29, and uncle Rakesh, 46. They detained another uncle, Mahindra, 52. After Thursday's blaze killed 14 people at rooftop restaurants 1 Above and Mojo's Bistro at Kamala Mills, the NM Joshi Marg police booked four accused, including the owners of both pubs. All four were on the run and only Hitesh has been nabbed so far. Hitesh lives in the 16-storey Chaitya Tower, Mazgaon, with his family and relatives. After he went into hiding, the police kept a close watch on the building, but his family members were allegedly uncooperative.

Calls, texts to help the accused
"Whenever we used to inquire about Hitesh, his family denied knowledge of his whereabouts. We decided to carry out a search of the houses he owned, but once again, they refused to cooperate," said an officer. "Hitesh's uncles, Rakesh and Mahendra, didn't allow us to enter the flat. Aditya helped them. We arrested Rakesh and Aditya, as we had reliable information that they were helping Hitesh and the other accused in the Kamala Mills fire case," said a senior officer. "More than 250 calls were exchanged between the Sanghvi family and the other accused. They also sent WhatsApp messages informing the accused that the police were in the building."

Also read: Kamala Mills fire: As Mumbai reels from tragedy, restaurateurs remain silent

Rakesh and Aditya were arrested under IPC section 187 (omission to assist public servant), 216 (harbouring offender) and 34 (common intention). Both were produced in Killa Court on Sunday afternoon and were granted bail on surety of Rs 25,000 cash.

Also read: Kamala Mills fire: Are cops protecting 'influential' owners of Mojo's Bistro?

'We were targeted, tortured'
Once they were out on bail, Aditya alleged that they had been tortured by the police for no reason. He further claimed that the cops were helping the owners of Mojo's Bistro. He said, "The cops are acting on the orders of a senior IPS officer. Mojo's Bistro, where illegal construction was carried, is partly owned by the son of a senior IPS officer and Bollywood celebrity. The cops are not touching them." "They broke our door in the middle of the night, entered our house and tortured us. From the beginning, we have been ready to co-operate, but we didn't know where Hitesh was. We were targeted by the cops," he alleged.

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