The crime branch of Delhi police on Thursday launched an investigation in the Karol Bagh hotel fire tragedy where at least 17 persons were killed and several others injured on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. In a first, the Delhi Police is also using 3D laser imaging technology to simulate the scene of the incident. The high-tech method will allow the police to zero in on how, why, where and when the blaze started in the four-storey building. Earlier, the Delhi government ordered a magisterial probe and directed the fire department to conduct an inspection of buildings which have five floors or more.
"Delhi Police crime branch has begun the investigation in the Karol Bagh hotel fire incident that claimed lives of 17 people," the news agency ANI reported.
Delhi Police crime branch has begun the investigation in the Karol Bagh hotel fire incident that claimed lives of 17 people. (File pic) pic.twitter.com/3LsvvH1GSf— ANI (@ANI) February 14, 2019
Early in the day, a Crime Branch team visited the Arpit Palace hotel along with its arrested general manager Rajender and manager Vikas and with their inputs, recreated the scene of the incident that occurred early Tuesday. The duo was interrogated as well, Rajesh Deo, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) said.
According to Deo, look out circulars have been issued against the property owner, Rakesh who was in Doha at the time of incident, and Shardendu Goel, the licensee of the hotel. The mobile phones of the accused are switched off and the family members too are out of reach, the police said.
The area's civic body too ordered a probe with officials accusing the hotel of violating municipal norms including running a makeshift restaurant on its rooftop. Union minister KJ Alphons who had visited the site of the incident had pointed out that the emergency exit of the hotel was "too narrow" and also locked.
In the wake of this massive fire incident, the fire department has been also directed to inspect buildings which are five floors or more and submit a report on their safety compliance within a week. All hotels will be strictly checked for their safety norms. If fire-fighting equipment not in place, severe action will be taken against the hotel management, fire officials said.
Action will be taken against the hotels depending on the extent of violations. If minor lapses are found, they will be warned and asked to rectify it within a couple of days. If not rectified, action will be taken accordingly, they added.
(With inputs from agencies)