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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Two killed in fire at Dwarka OYO hotel; owner, manager arrested

An OYO spokesperson said, "Safety is always our top priority. The concerned property is closed and sealed till further notice."

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 16, 2021 8:51:53 pm
The hotel in Dwarka’s Sector 8. The blaze broke out early Sunday morning. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

Two persons, including a minor girl, died and two were injured after a fire broke out at a hotel in Dwarka on Sunday morning. Police said their bodies were found on the staircase and suspect they suffocated to death. While the exact cause of the blaze is yet to be ascertained, officials said a short-circuit may have sparked it.

Police have arrested one of the three owners of the hotel, Nisha Jha, from her residence in Vijay Enclave as well as hotel manager Harshit Saini (21).

DCP (Dwarka) Santosh Kumar Meena said, “A case has been registered against them under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 304 (punishment for culpable homicide) and 436 (mischief by fire or any explosive substance). The hotel was also prosecuted under the Delhi Police Act.”

The Delhi Fire Services said the four-storey hotel, run by OYO, did not have a fire no-objection certificate.

One of the victims was identified as Deepak (25), a Dwarka resident, who worked as a DJ at a club in Janakpuri. The other victim is a 15-year-old girl. The injured men have been identified as Harsh Singhla (21) and Bhahkyk Mehra (23).

According to police, they received information about the blaze at 7.40 am and eight fire tenders were dispatched. The DCP said, “We got a PCR call saying some guests were trapped in a hotel in Sector 8. It had been registered in the name of Shri Krishna Oyo Hotel B-260, Sector 8, Dwarka, which was being run by OYO. No hotel staff were present at the time. The fire was doused at 8.40 am and two bodies were found on the staircase on the ground floor. They were shifted to DDU hospital.”

DFS officials said locals and police helped in rescuing nearly half a dozen people from the hotel. “Some people rushed upstairs. We had to break the windows and give them ropes to rescue them,” said an official.

In the afternoon, police sealed the hotel — several parts of which were charred — and an inspection was carried out by forensic officials.

The hotel became operational nearly seven months ago and has 12 rooms. As per hotel staff, hours before the fire, there had been an electrical malfunction causing all the ACs to trip. Once the fire broke out in the lower half of the building, smoke entered the rooms.

The DCP said they found an eyewitness, Lokesh Kumar (21), who was staying in the hotel. He said there was a short-circuit at midnight and power returned half an hour later. “When he got up around 7 am, he found smoke inside the hotel and saw that a fire had broken out on the ground floor and reception area, and heard a blast,” Meena said.

The DCP said the other owners of the building are Sidharth and Karuna from Ranchi but it was being run by a man named Sunil Gupta, who further sub-let it to Harshit.

Before his arrest, Harshit told The Indian Express: “I got a call around 7 am from the staff, who told me a fire had broken out. By the time I had arrived from Dasharatpuri, where I live, most parts of the hotel had been burnt. The two bodies were found on the staircase. On Saturday night, there was some problem with the electricity. We made some calls to senior hotel staff, but nothing happened. And then we woke up to this.”

He added, “In the time that I have been working for the last three months, there have been no complaints against the hotel. The final agreement was signed this week almost after a year of being functional.”

Meanwhile, an OYO spokesperson expressed deep concern over the incident. “We are deeply concerned by the fire incident at the property being operated as a hotel registered on our platform. We always encourage hotels to be vigilant about fire safety measures and our agreement mandates that they maintain all compliances. The hotels on our platform are directly run and managed by operators or owners, but we insist that they always follow legal protocols while checking in any guest including verifying their identity proof. As per our preliminary checks, the deceased had not booked the hotel through our platform. We are extending all possible cooperation in the regulatory investigation. Safety is always our top priority. The concerned property is closed and sealed till further notice,” said the spokesperson

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