The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has formed four teams to probe Thursdays fire at Mantralaya. Senior police officers said they had taken into possession the hard disk containing CCTV recordings from the building to investigate if the fire was an accident.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy said the investigation would include a forensic analysis of the scene,statements of witnesses,contents of CCTV recordings and also circumstantial evidence. Our first task is to ascertain if the fire was accidental or not, he said. The room that housed the hard disk was not damaged as it is located on the ground floor. The recordings of CCTV cameras will reveal a lot about the possible location of fire,and also most likely how it started.
Sources revealed that Units 1,2,4 and 5 of the Crime Branch have been entrusted with the probe. The units have been given the mandate of going through video surveillance recordings of the structure and also speaking to those injured in the blaze. The units will be headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police and will be supervised by a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Sources also said the Crime Branch was working in close tandem with officials of the Fire department and Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Kalina. The police have also asked for experts in electrical engineering to help them in the case. A report from the Fire department about the likely cause of fire is still awaited,Crime Branch officers said.
Roy said the police visited floors four and five on Friday morning. Forensic experts have collected evidence from these floors. We have also visited the spot. However,we could not go to the sixth and seventh floors as the cooling process is still on. We have been told that the heat is still high and have been advised against going there until further clearance.
Conspiracy theories unfortunate: CM
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters on Friday that the conspiracy theories and allegations of sabotage are unfortunate. My plea to those floating these theories is that this is not right; we must wait for the official report.
Chavan,who held a separate meeting with senior Fire Brigade officials in the evening,said a separate fire inquiry would also be instituted though the government is yet to decide who will conduct this inquiry. This inquiry will look at whether our response was correct,whether different construction material must be used in the building,etc, he said.