Kamala Mills Fire: Director of mill compound in Police custody till January 29

Updated: Jan 24, 2018, 10:20 IST | Suraj Ojha

Kamala Mills director to be probed on his role into the irregularities related to construction and structural changes made to Mojo's and 1 Above

Ramesh Gowani was produced in the Bhoiwada court. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Ramesh Gowani was produced in the Bhoiwada court. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Ramesh Gowani, the director of Kamala Mills, who was arrested on Monday in the Kamala Mills blaze case, was on Tuesday produced before the Bhoiwada court. The police told the Bhoiwada court on Tuesday that it needs to investigate Gowani's role into the irregularities related to the construction of and structural changes made to restaurants Mojo's Bistro and 1 Above, where the fire began in which 14 people lost their lives. The court remanded him in police custody till January 29.

Another reason the cops gave for probing him was the allegations made by the BMC's in their report into the incident. The court remanded him in police custody till January 29. Sanjay Vadhavane, public prosecutor told the court that the fire-fighting system of the building where incident occurred was not working and the basement was also illegally used.

Further, both the establishments had erected illegal sheds on the terrace. Cops want to see what steps Gowani took to persuade the owners from not doing so and also if he was involved in any business with the establishments. The remand copy stated Gowani might have intentionally ignored the illegal construction of establishments. It also said that the architect of the building where the fire occurred is still at large and Gowani's custody is needed to know about his whereabouts as well.

Why hold me responsible?
However, Gowani's lawyer Ajinkya Badar argued, "I'm [Gowani] the owner and I gave my property on lease to the hotel owners, so how can I be held responsible for their mistake? The permission of running the restaurant was granted by BMC and not me, therefore I am nowhere responsible for the fire."

Subsequently, Rizwan Merchant, lawyer of accused and Mojo's co-owner Yug Pathak argued for his bail application. He submitted that according to the fire report, suffocation was the cause of death and not the blaze and all the bodies were found in the bathroom of 1Above and not Mojo's Bistro.

Bail plea for Pathak
The patrons of both the hotels did go out from Mojo's exit point. But as per the fire report, no one got injured in Mojo's and no body was found there. Mojo's staff had even helped rescue people from 1Above. Merchant further argued that Section 304 (culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code does not apply to Pathak and he will be available for further investigation, if required. The court asked prosecution to argue against the bail application and kept the matter for further hearing on Thursday.

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