Karol Bagh fire: Amid calls for action, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal points to many ‘question marks’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/karol-bagh-fire-amid-calls-for-action-delhi-cm-arvind-kejriwal-points-to-many-question-marks-5581001/

Karol Bagh fire: Amid calls for action, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal points to many ‘question marks’

The government announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims’ families and also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the cause of fire.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the site. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Amid calls from political parties for a thorough probe into the lapses that may have caused the blaze at Karol Bagh’s Hotel Arpit Palace, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) asked if Delhi will see the North civic body commissioner or Chief of Fire being suspended for “loss of human life”.

Delhi Fire Services falls under the Delhi government, while the MCDs are governed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Also Read: Karol Bagh blaze: ‘Hotel terrace used for dining, violated laws’

Hitting out against the system of governance in Delhi, AAP national spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj brought up the issue of services not being under the control of the elected government and the lack of accountability in the aftermath of the tragedy.

This is not the first time that AAP has raised the issue of the services department not being under the elected government’s control. A Supreme Court judgment, which will finally settle the issue of who should get control of the department, is reserved.

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Also Read: Karol Bagh hotel fire: ‘I heard a body crunch in the towel when I carried it’

The government announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims’ families and also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the cause of fire.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said: “There is a question mark on whether they had a licence to run a hotel or not. There is a question mark on whether they had the licence to run a bar in the hotel or not. We will ascertain this once we conduct the enquiry.”

On the hotel being awarded an NoC despite apparent violations, he said: “We will ascertain that once the enquiry is complete.” He also said claims that a bank had initiated auction/neelami proceedings concerning the building will be probed.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the incident was indicative of gross negligence: “We have learnt that the Chief Fire Officer of Delhi had issued safety clearance certificate to this hotel, but this incident is indicative of gross negligence. We will try to ensure that an impartial inquiry is held and the guilty are punished.”

Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit also called for a probe. “The AAP government should form a committee to probe the tragedy and find out how such a major fire broke out,” she said, adding that the immediate task should be to “console those who have lost their near and dear ones”.