Hyderabad police arrested four people, including two owners of Ruby Pride Luxury Hotel in Telangana’s Secunderabad, after a fire broke out in the building on Monday night killing eight persons and injuring 11, officers said.
Owners Ranjeet Singh, 60, and his son Sumit Singh, 34, were arrested along with the manager of the lodge Naridla Sudarshan Naidu, 39, and the cashier of Ruby Motors Jaspal Singh Gulati, 59, on Wednesday evening. Sunpreet Singh, 30, Ranjeet Singh’s younger son and owner of Ruby Motors, is absconding, the police said.
The fire had erupted in the cellar of the building housing a hotel and an electric bike showroom where 27 e-bikes, eight motorbikes, electric batteries, gas cylinders and a diesel generator were stored. A case was registered at Market Police Station under sections 304 (II) (knowledge that death may be caused by an act), 324 (causing hurt by dangerous means) and section 9B of the Explosives Act, 1884.
In a press release, DCP (North) Chandana Deepthi said there is prima facie evidence that the accused flouted safety norms by setting up a business of e-bikes and charging batteries which led to the incident. “Absence of all required permissions for the hotel building and e-bike showroom and misuse of parking space are the major lapses that led to the gruesome incident,” she said. The arrested accused are being remanded in judicial custody.
More than seven persons had to jump to safety from the hotel’s windows on Monday night, while police and fire rescue personnel saved 17 lives in the operation that lasted three hours. Those admitted to the hospital have suffered burn injuries and also have internal injuries due to inhalation of toxic smoke.
According to the police, accused no.1 Ranjeet Singh owns the building while his sons Sumit and Sunpreet Singh run the hotel and e-bikes showroom as well as the two-wheeler finance business. Officers recovered footage from 25 CCTV cameras, some of which reveal the origin of the fire. “It appears that the smoke first emerged from an e-bike kept for charging. However, reports from the fire department, electricity department, forensic science lab, etc are awaited to determine the exact cause of the fire,” said the DCP.
Rescuers felicitated by Hyderabad police commissioner
Meanwhile, city police commissioner C V Anand felicitated the police officers who played an active role in the rescue of people trapped in the fire that broke out at Ruby Pride Luxury Hotel. He presented certificates of appreciation and cash rewards to detective inspector A Anjaneyulu of Tukaram Gate police station and constable Rakesh of Market police station. Four civilians – Subash Chandrabose, Surya Kiran Kumar, Amar Reddy and Shiva Kumar – were also honoured and presented with cash rewards for their role in the rescue operation.
In a note, the Commissioner said constable Rakesh was the first person to arrive at the spot after the fire broke out at around 9 pm. As the thick smoke billowed up through the stairway, he said, the officers and civilians entered the building from adjacent buildings without any protective gear, much before the firefighters arrived. Inspector Anjaneyulu said he saw an inmate lying on the passage of the second floor and as they went down the stairway, found more persons lying unconscious. Rakesh said he could barely see his hand in the thick smoke and darkness. They rescued the people and shifted them to the terrace.
“Those actions reflect the bravery and the exemplary service of Hyderabad city police’s finest officers and the good Samaritans. They put their own lives at risk and moved the occupants trapped to safety,” Anand said. “The extraordinary bravery, intelligently performed in the line of duty at imminent and personal danger to life, reflects the hallmark of true heroism,” he added.