The Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested two officials – including the general manager - of Hotel Arpit Palace, where a massive fire killed 17 people, an officer said. The hotel's general manager, Rajender, and manager, Vikas, have been arrested for culpable homicide, DCP (central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said. According to reports, the hotel owner - Shardendu Goel - is absconding after the incident. The DCP also said that the case has been transferred to the Crime Branch.
Earlier, the city police registered a case under IPC Section 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) in connection with the fire that broke out in Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh. According to reports, the city police has also added Section 308 of IPC (attempt to commit culpable homicide).
#Delhi: DCP (central district) on Karol Bagh hotel fire:15 bodies identified till now. Investigation on, prima facie suggests willful negligence. FIR registered against hotel owner Shubendu Goyal, GM&Manager detained. Investigation of this case will be transferred to Crime Branch pic.twitter.com/vyTzVhWnUA— ANI (@ANI) February 12, 2019
Conviction under both the sections leads to seven years of imprisonment, the officials said.
Meanwhile, Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons said the emergency exit of the Arpit Palace hotel was ‘too narrow’ and also locked. Alphons, who visited the site of the tragedy, said he was sure that there would be violation of norms. The minister said there were a lot of wooden structures inside, which may have helped the fire spread.
"When I headed to the emergency exit, I found that it had been locked yesterday (last night). Also, it was too narrow. Obviously, even if people came to the emergency exit, they could not have escaped as it was too narrow and it was locked anyway," he said.
Alphons said he spoke to the Mayor and asked him to check whether all regulations were in place and to take immediate action if there was any lapse on the part of the hotel management. Meanwhile, the Delhi government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the dead.
In the wake of the incident, the Delhi Government has also ordered cancelation of an event to mark the fourth-anniversary celebration of the AAP government in Delhi on Tuesday. "Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has ordered cancellation of today's event owing to the Karol Bagh hotel fire incident," a senior government official said.
Bollywood singer-composer Vishal Dadlani was to perform during the event to be held at Talkatora Stadium.