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Four govt officials including town planning officer arrested in Rajkot gaming zone fire case, say police

Earlier, a court in Gujarat's Rajkot sought a report from the SIT probing the TRP game zone fire on a plea seeking registration of criminal cases against the IPS and IAS officers who were transferred, and others who were suspended after the tragedy.

Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: May 30, 2024 23:56 IST
Debris being removed from the game zone site where a fire
Image Source : PTI Debris being removed from the game zone site where a fire broke out on Saturday, in Rajkot. (File photo)

At least four government officials including town planning officer have been arrested in Rajkot game zone fire case, the police informed on Thursday. At least 27 people, mostly children, students, were killed in the tragic incident.

TPO MD Sagathia, assistant TPOs Mukesh Makwana and Gautam Joshi, and former station officer of Kalavad Road fire station Rohit Vigora were arrested, taking the total number of people held to nine, said an official.

"Four government officials have been arrested," confirmed state Director General of Police Vikas Sahay.

Nine officials have been suspended in connection with the incident for alleged "gross negligence in allowing the game zone to operate without necessary approvals", as per a government release.

These comprise Joshi, Vigora, Rajkot's chief fire officer IV Kher, his deputy BJ Theba, assistant engineer in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation's town planning department Jaideep Chaudhary, Roads and Buildings department's deputy executive engineers MR Suma and Paras Kothiya, and police inspectors VR Patel and NI Rathod.

Three IPS officers, including then police commissioner Raju Bhargava, were shunted out of the city after the fire tragedy.

On Thursday, senior IPS officer Subhash Trivedi, who is heading a Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the Gujarat government to probe the incident, quizzed former fire chief Kher at the state police headquarters in Gandhinagar for nearly three hours, sources said.

Incidentally, Kher had earlier revealed the game zone was running without the mandatory fire NOC (No Objection Certificate) as the management had never applied for it.

On Monday, the Gujarat High Court had come down heavily on the Rajkot civic body over the game zone fire, saying it did not have faith in the state machinery that gets into action only after innocent lives are lost.

The HC had asked Rajkot Municipal Corporation if it had turned a blind eye to such a big structure coming up in its vicinity after the civic body's lawyer submitted that the TRP Game Zone, which was set up in the city's Nana-Mava locality, had not sought requisite permissions.

The nine persons held for the tragedy include four owners and a manager of TRP Gaming Zone.

ALSO READ | Rajkot game zone fire: Court seeks report from SIT on plea to make IPS, IAS officers accused

 

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