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New Delhi
Wednesday 29 January 2020

Factory owner Md Rehan arrested; 29 of 43 bodies identified

Prima facie, the accident in the factory was caused by short circuit due to negligence; constructions in the area did not have a fire department NOC

On Sunday morning, 43 workers were killed in a massive fire at a four-storey factory on Rani Jhansi Road in Delhi. The Police took factory owner Mohammad Rehan into custody in the evening. Police have registered a case against Md Rehan. A case of Section 304 (Non-Criminal Murder) of the IPC has been registered against the factory owner.

Md Rehan, absconding since the fire broke out, is under interrogation. Rehan’s brother was taken into custody earlier.

Till now, bodies of 29 victims of the fire have been identified. The other 14 workers killed are yet to be identified.

Apart from factory owner Rehan, the manager Furkan has been arrested, too. DCP North Monika Bhardwaj said that Rehan’s brothers are being questioned. Some other people have also been detained.

The factory caught fire on Sunday morning. The fire service officials were informed about the fire at 5:22 AM. Thirty fire engines were rushed to the spot. About 150 firemen carried out rescue operations and drove 63 people out of the building engulfed in fire.

Rajesh Shukla, one of the first firemen to enter the burning building in the area of the mandi where grains are stored, saved the lives of 11 people. Shukla, a Delhi Fire Service worker, suffered a leg injury during this rescue operation and is being treated at LNJP Hospital.

Delhi’s Home Minister Satyendar Jain met Shukla at the hospital. Jain tweeted, “Fireman Rajesh Shukla is a real hero. He was among the first firemen to enter the fire site and saved the lives of 11 people. Despite the bone injury, he did his work till the end. Salute to the bravery of this hero.”

Initial investigation has revealed the cause of the fire as a short circuit that killed 43 workers. Two fire personnel have been injured during the rescue operations.

This is prima facie a case of fire by negligence, police say. The construction units in the factory area did not have a no-objection certificate (NOC) of the fire department. There was not enough space for fire engines to move around, which complicated the rescue operation. Fire personnel cut through windows to enter the building.

Many workers were in deep sleep when the fire broke out. There was no proper arrangement for air movement in the building. As a result, many people died of asphyxiation.

The Crime Branch of Delhi Police is investigating the case.

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