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Mundka fire: Building owner held, had applied for factory licence in 2016, says police

Police also found that the Goel brothers, who ran the company Cofe Impex Private Limited where the fire started, were shifting operations to a new, bigger office in Noida. The duo have been arrested as well.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
May 16, 2022 5:55:02 am
Mundka fire, Delhi fire, Mundka fire probe, Delhi HC, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, AAP, delhi news, Indian expressPolice have recovered 27 bodies so far and 19 are still unidentified. On Sunday, police wrote to FSL, asking them to conduct the DNA tests. (Express Photo)

The Delhi Police Sunday arrested Manish Lakra, owner of the four-storey commercial building in Mundka where 27 people died in a fire on Friday. Initial investigation revealed that Lakra had applied for a factory licence in 2016 — a year after the property was transferred in his name following his father’s death in 2015. This licence was later suspended.

Police also found that the Goel brothers, who ran the company Cofe Impex Private Limited where the fire started, were shifting operations to a new, bigger office in Noida. The duo have been arrested as well.

Police have recovered 27 bodies so far and 19 are still unidentified. On Sunday, police wrote to FSL, asking them to conduct the DNA tests. Samples have been collected and sent for testing. DCP (Outer) Sameer Sharma said, “We are in constant touch with the FSL to get the results in 5-10 days.”

He added, “We received information that Lakra was headed to Haridwar. He had destroyed his mobile phone. We laid a trap and nabbed him from Ghevra Mod in West Delhi after conducting multiple raids in Delhi and Haryana. His mother and children are still missing.”

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Police said Lakra lived with his mother, wife and two children on the top floor of the same building and escaped during the fire by jumping onto the terrace of the adjoining building. “On Friday, he was sleeping and his wife woke him up for tea. As soon as he woke up, he smelled smoke and wires burning. He called his driver, who told him about the fire. He then jumped onto the terrace of the adjacent building with his family and escaped,” a senior police officer said.

Additional CP (western range) Chinmoy Biswal said Lakra also disclosed that after his father’s death, the property was transferred to his name in 2016 and he applied for a factory license. “He also submitted one time fees, and the property was given on rent for a liquor store… He rented out the floors to the Goels in late 2017,” Biswal said.

According to the DCP, Lakra’s father bought the building in 2011. “Besides, the company not getting an NOC from the fire department, Lakra did not conduct tenant verification or obtain a police clearance certificate before subletting the building for commercial use”, police said.

Sharma assured action against officials if they are found guilty of collusion or negligence: “All agencies involved like MCD, DSIIDC will be questioned and documents will be verified.”

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