Gujarat govt transfers Rajkot top cop, civic body chief after fire that killed 28

2 weeks ago 12

NEW DELHI: Rajkot police commissioner Raju Bhargava was transferred on Monday after the fire incident that killed 28 people. He will be replaced by IPS officer Brijesh Kumar Jha.
The government has also transferred additional commissioner of police of Rajkot (Administration, traffic and crime) Vidhi Choudhary along with Sudhirkumar J Desai, DCP-zone 2.

Rajkot municipal commissioner Anand Babulal Patel was also transferred.
The decision comes hours after the high court rapped Gujarat government earlier on Monday saying it does not have faith in the state machinery "which gets into action only after innocent lives are lost". A special bench of Justices Biren Vaishnav and Devan Desai asked whether the civic body sat over the fire safety orders passed earlier on a PIL for 18 months.

The bench held that all Rajkot municipal commissioners from the time the game zone was established in 2021 until the tragedy occurred on May 25 "should be held accountable for the tragedy that occurred."
To the RMC counsel's submission that the game zone had not applied for requisite permissions, the HC asked whether the civic body was blind to such a big structure having come up under its jurisdiction.
"You were blind to that...this big structure existed, you were not aware of it? What is the corporation's explanation that the whole zone existed for the last two-and-a-half years? What fire safety did they apply for? When ticketing was done, were you aware of the entertainment tax? So we take it that you are completely turning a blind eye to the whole issue?," the bench asked.

The HC also wanted to know as to when the corporation first recognised the existence of the game zone.
"Till then you were completely ignorant of such a structure in the vicinity? Were you not aware of the orders of this court for fire safety (passed) in a PIL? What were you doing then? There are media reports that your municipal commissioner went there at the time of the inauguration. We can't take judicial notice of that fact? For 18 months, what did the corporation do? Sat over it?" the bench asked.
No victim identified so far, 2 accused arrested
Gujarat police filed an FIR against seven partners of TRP Game Zone in Rajkot for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and arrested two of them on Sunday, following a devastating fire that spread rapidly and claimed 28 lives at the recreational facility packed with a large weekend crowd the previous evening. The fire left the bodies charred beyond recognition.
According to the FIR, the 28 recovered bodies included 15 males, six females, and three children. The gender of three bodies could not be determined due to severe burns, while only partial remains of one person were recovered. Forensic experts are now tasked with the challenge of identifying the victims through DNA analysis, a process that could take up to seven days. This step is crucial for providing closure to grieving families. A forensic team has arrived in Rajkot to collect samples from the site.