Mumbai: A prominent Right to Information activist, alleging negligence and
non-implementation of norms, Friday urged the Mumbai police to
investigate a sabotage angle to Thursday's Mantralaya fire which
claimed five lives.
In a letter to the head of Marine Drive police station and Mumbai
Police commissioner Arup Patnaik Friday, Athak Seva Sangh chairman
and RTI activist Anil Galgali demanded that the police lodge cases
against officials of the Public Works Department and General
Administrative Department for negligence of fire safety audit
norms which resulted in the major fire.
"The fire safety audit was done in 2008 and a report was submitted
to the state government Sep 29, 2008. It had listed 32 risks,
including civil and electrical defects, encroachment due to
parking of vehicles in the mandatory open spaces around the
building, files and old records strewn on the floors, storage of
scrap material on all floors, and cylinder used for cooking on
mezzanine 5th and 6th floors," Galgali told IANS.
Alleging that the seventh floor constructed on Mantralaya was
illegal, Galgali said a full-scale probe would reveal the entire
truth in the matter and the causes leading to the fire, which has
paralysed the state administration.
He said the state government did not heed the fire brigade
department's warning in 2008, and also ignored a reminder in 2010
after a fire gutted a large part of the Goyal Shopping Centre in
Borivli, north-west Mumbai.
"Moreover, the sections which have burnt down had important
information pertaining to RTI queries made by many activists. Now,
the government will have an easy escape route by saying all
official records are lost in the fire," Galgali contended.
Besides the crime branch investigation ordered by Chief Minister
Prithviraj Chavan, Galgali demanded a probe with the sabotage
angle in mind and that the officials responsible for the lapses in
the PWD and GAD departments should be booked.