Mumbai: A hotelier was arrested today for allegedly sheltering at his suburban residence in Juhu three owners of the ‘1 Above’ pub wanted in connection with the Kamala Mills fire that claimed 14 lives last month, police said.
Two weeks after the fire tragedy, the pub owners — Hitesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Mankar — continue to evade arrest despite the police widening its dragnet and issuing lookout notices for them.
Police on January 1 had arrested Sanghvi brothers’ uncle Rakesh Sanghvi and cousin Aditya Sanghvi, both residents of Mazgaon in south Mumbai, for allegedly sheltering them. The duo were later released on bail by a local court.
Police today arrested Vishal Kariya, who owns hotels and pubs in the city, after questioning him in connection with the whereabouts of the trio.
Police recovered a high-end car belonging to Mankar from Kariya’s place.
“Vishal Kariya, who owns hotels and pubs in the city, was placed under arrest after a team of N M Joshi Marg Police picked him for questioning,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Akhilesh Mishra said.
During investigation, it came to light that 42-year-old Kariya had sheltered the three owners at his residence, he said.
The Sanghvi brothers and Mankar are absconding since December 29 when the fire swept through the ‘1 Above’ pub and the adjacent Mojo’s Bistro resto pub in Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai.
Police booked the Sanghvi brothers, Mankar and others under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
The Mumbai police also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information on the whereabouts of the accused trio.
In its preliminary probe report, the Mumbai Fire Brigade said the blaze possibly started at Mojo’s Bistro due to flying embers of hookah and spread to the adjacent 1 Above, a terrace resto-pub.
Following the Fire Brigade report, the police last week arrested Yug Pathak, one of the co-owners of Mojo’s Bistro.
Another co-owner of Mojo’s Bistro, Yug Tulli, a Nagpur-based businessman, yesterday filed a pre-arrest bail application before a Mumbai sessions court.
The police had earlier arrested ‘1 Above’ managers Kevin Bava and Lisbon Lopez in connection with the fire. Their bail applications will come up for hearing tomorrow.