No faith in state machinery: Gujarat High Court raps govt, civic body over Rajkot fire : The Tribune India

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No faith in state machinery: Gujarat High Court raps govt, civic body over Rajkot fire

7 officials suspended | MC chief, police commissioner, 2 other IPS officers shifted

No faith in state machinery: Gujarat High Court raps govt, civic body over Rajkot fire

Three accused in police custody outside a court in Rajkot on Monday. PTI



PTI

Ahmedabad, May 27

The Gujarat High Court on Monday said it does not have faith in the state machinery "which gets into action only after innocent lives are lost", as it pulled up the Rajkot civic body over the purported lapses in the functioning of the gaming zone facility where a massive fire killed 35 persons.

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 HC was hearing a suo motu PIL on the TRP gaming zone fire tragedy which occurred on May 25. A day earlier, the HC termed the incident a prima facie “man-made disaster”.

The Bench asked whether the civic body had turned a blind eye to such a big structure coming up in its vicinity after its lawyer submitted that the TRP zone had not asked for requisite permissions.

The Bench noted that all commissioners of the Rajkot municipal corporation from the time the TRP game zone was set up in 2021 till the time of the incident (on May 25) “should be held accountable for the tragedy that occurred”, and directed them to furnish separate affidavits.

On Monday, a counsel pointed out the state government would have to come forward to hold a person accountable, and this calls for drastic steps.

“Who will take such drastic steps? Honestly speaking, we do not have faith in the state machinery now. Four years after orders of this court, this is the sixth incident that has happened. They only want lives to be lost and then trigger the machinery,” the Bench said.

To the RMC counsel's submission that the gaming 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.

Meanwhile, the state government on Monday transferred the city's police commissioner, two other IPS officers and the civic chief.

Police Commissioner Raju Bhargava, Additional Commissioner of Police Vidhi Choudhary and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-2) Sudhirkumar Desai were transferred without postings, the state Home Cepartment said in a notification.

The government also transferred Rajkot Municipal Commissioner and IAS officer Anand Patel.

It also ordered the suspension of seven officials in connection with the incident.

The officials have been held responsible for their “gross negligence in allowing the game zone to operate without necessary approvals”, a government release stated.

Rajkot Municipal Corporation's town planning department assistant engineer Jaideep Chaudhary, assistant town planner for RMC Gautam Joshi, Rajkot Roads and Buildings department's deputy executive engineers MR Suma and Paras Kothiya, and police inspectors VR Patel and NI Rathod, were suspended, as per orders passed by the respective departments.

The RMC later ordered the suspension of Rohit Vigora, the “station officer” of the RMC's Kalavad Road fire station.

#Ahmedabad #Gujarat


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