The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to the owners of Kamala Mills Compound, Ravi Bhandari and Ramesh Govani, in connection with alleged rule violations and irregularities related to constructions on the premises. Police said Govani and Bhandari were arrested after a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation report said they were negligent about structural changes that led to the patrons in the bars being unable to escape when a fire broke out at 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro on December 29 last year. Fourteen people were killed in the blaze. Advocate Sudeep Pasbola, appearing for Govani and Bhandari, argued that no case under Section 304 (culpable homicide) of the IPC is made out against the owners who were not even personally present at the time of the incident.
Pasbola also argued that since major permissions, like permission from the municipal corporation and fire brigade, were obtained by the owners of 1Above and Mojo’s Bistro, there was no reason for them to interfere in the affairs of both the restaurants. Pasbola said the allegation of not taking action against the licence does not make an accused liable for culpable homicide charge. He also told the court that the chargesheet has been filed and investigation has been completed. Justice V L Achliya pronounced the order around 8.20 pm granting bail to Govani and Bhandari.
Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty said the court has asked Govani and Bhandari to submit their passports and attend police station once in the month. The court has also asked both the accused to make no attempt to tamper with the evidence.