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Mantralaya fire: Maha CM orders probe, structural audit

Last updated on: June 21, 2012 22:30 IST

Mantralaya fire: Maha CM orders probe, structural audit

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Efforts on seeking information about structural audit of the Mantralaya building, where amassive blaze gutted several offices on Thursday, will take place on Friday morning, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

The Crime Branch of the Mumbai police will probe the fire incident, he said. Asked by reporters whether it could be an act of sabotage, he said, "We don't want to jump to conclusion. The Crime Branch will probe the incident."

The police wing usually probes cases, which are underworld-related or those which are sensitive in nature.

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Image: Firefighters douse the blaze at Mantralya, Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Responding to a query whether important documents were lost in the fire, Chavan said that 3.18 crore pages from 2.27 lakh files were scanned and were thus safe.

Apprehensions have been expressed that several important files relating to the Adarsh Housing Society scam may have been destroyed in the fire.Chavan said fire-fighting efforts would continue throughout the night.

When contacted, a crime branch officer told PTI, "In our probe, it will be clear if it was really a case of short-circuit or a deliberate act."

As of now, it was stated that the incident was triggered due to a short circuit on the fourth floor of the building.


Image: Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan looks at the Mantralaya building on fire
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
Tags: PTI , OChavan , Chavan

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According to police sources, the investigators were seeking footage from the news channels as well as Mantralaya's CCTVs which would help them in the probe.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, along with other police officials, visited the spot to take stock of the situation.

"On Friday, no visitor will be allowed in Mantralaya," Chavan told the media in Mumbai.

Altogether 16 persons were injured in the incident, he said, adding, "There are no reports of anyone being killed in the incident. No one was found trapped in any of the 14 lifts in the building."


Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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"Video recording of the entire buildings will take place. Senior officials, including secretaries, will inspect the damage," the chief minister said.

No official work will be carried out in Mantralaya on Friday, and all meetings scheduled have been cancelled, he said.

Some ministry offices that were damaged in the fire will be shifted to Vidhan Bhawan and Sahyadri Guest House or the Mantralaya annexe, he said.

"On Friday, the offices will be open. Saturday and Sunday being holidays, officials will be called as per requirement," he said.

The "orderly" evacuation of thousands of people from the building could be attributed to the fire drill that takes place in Mantralaya on second Saturday of every month, hesaid.

Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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