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Mojo’s Bistro owner failed to take steps to prevent fire: Bombay HC

A special quality of coal is required to smoke a hookah, but at Tuli’s restaurant, ordinary coal was used, which used to discharge embers after being ignited, stated the High Court.

Written by Sailee Dhayalkar | Mumbai |
Updated: May 4, 2018 3:29:58 am
Yug Tuli’s bail plea was rejected by the HC.

Mojo’s Bistro owner Yug Tuli “failed to take necessary steps to prevent the main cause” of the fire at Kamala Mills, which claimed 14 lives in December last year, the Bombay High Court has observed. While rejecting the bail application, Justice A S Gadkari said, “…being the owner of the restaurant, (he) has clearly failed to take necessary steps in preventing the main cause of fire.” The act of Tuli, along with the co-accused, “resulted in… the deaths of 14 innocent persons and… caused minor to major and/or grievous injuries to 31 persons,” stated the court.

Justice Gadkari stated, “…the Applicant (Tuli), being co-­owner of… Mojo’s Bistro cannot be permitted to shrug off his responsibility, by adopting a spacious plea that he is not concerned with the entire incident. Ultimately, it is a matter of public accountability and therefore, the accusations are to be considered… of grave and serious nature…”.

The court further stated,”…the Applicant had implied knowledge that the incident of fire may occur or take place due to the unauthorised and illegal use of charcoal embers for hookah.” A special quality of coal is required to smoke a hookah, but at Tuli’s restaurant, ordinary coal was used, which used to discharge embers after being ignited, stated the High Court. “….it can be safely presumed and/or inferred that the applicant was having express or implied knowledge that the embers from the Hookah funnel/pot would cause fire thereby, endangering the life of its customers,” observed the court.

The court added that “the applicant failed to put boards/placards, thereby pointing out the way to the emergency exit to the customers, in case of any untoward incident”. The court also pointed out that on August 2, 2017, the demolition of unauthorised structures by the staff of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation was stopped midway on the orders of the assistant commissioner, G/South Ward, and the order was passed at the instance of Tuli.

“This shows that the applicant is a highly influential person,” stated the applicant.

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