Rajkot gaming zone fire: Civic chief, police commissioner transferred; Gujarat HC says it doesn't have faith in state machinery : The Tribune India

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Rajkot gaming zone fire: Civic chief, police commissioner transferred; Gujarat HC says it doesn't have faith in state machinery

Six officials also suspended for lapses; one of the partners of TRP gaming zone held

Rajkot gaming zone fire: Civic chief, police commissioner transferred; Gujarat HC says it doesn't have faith in state machinery

Debris being removed from the game zone site where a major fire on Saturday evening killed at least 27 people and injured three, in Rajkot. PTI



PTI

Ahmedabad, May 27

The Gujarat Government on Monday transferred the city's police commissioner, two other IPS officers and the civic chief in connection with the loss of 27 lives in the Rajkot gaming zone fire, even as the Gujarat High Court said it had no faith in the state machinery, which gets into action only when innocent lives are lost.

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 department said in a notification.

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

The government has appointed Brajesh Kumar Jha, Special Commissioner of Police, Sector-2, Ahmedabad, as the new Rajkot police commissioner.

Mahendra Bagria, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Kutch-Bhuj (West), will take over Rajkot's new additional commissioner of police, while Jagdish Bangarwa, Superintendent, Central Prison, Vadodara, will be the new deputy commissioner of police.

The government put Rajkot civic chief Anand Patel's service at the “disposal of the General Administrative Department for further orders”, stated a GAD notification.

Patel has been replaced by DP Desai, who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) with an additional post of CEO, Gandhinagar Urban Development Authority (GUDA).

Bhavya Verma, Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, Gandhinagar will hold the additional charge of CEO, AUDA and CEO GUDA, the GAD notification said.

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

Those suspended are 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, as per orders passed by the respective departments.

Notably, the gaming zone, where the blaze erupted on Saturday, was operated without the fire NOC (no objection certificate).

The fire at the TRP gaming zone in the Nana-Mava locality of Rajkot on Saturday evening killed 27 persons, including children.

Meanwhile, one of the partners of the ill-fated gaming zone was arrested on Monday, said officials.

The police have registered an FIR against six partners of the TRP gaming zone on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and had earlier arrested two persons in connection with the incident.

“The Rajkot police have arrested Rahul Rathod, one of the partners in the Raceway Enterprise, which operated the gaming zone. He is the third accused arrested in the case,” said Rajkot Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime, Parthrajsinh Gohil.

The Rajkot taluka police have booked Dhaval Corporation's proprietor, Dhaval Thakkar, and Raceway Enterprise partners Ashoksinh Jadeja, Kiritsinh Jadeja, Prakashchand Hiran, Yuvrajsinh Solanki and Rahul Rathod in the case.

On Sunday, the police arrested one of the partners, Yuvrajsinh Solanki, and the entertainment facility's manager, Nitin Jain.

In the Gujarat High Court, a special bench of Justices Biren Vaishnav and Devan Desai asked the Rajkot Municipal Corporation whether it had turned a blind eye to such a big structure coming up in its vicinity, after the RMC’s lawyer submitted that the TRP gaming zone had not asked for requisite permissions.

The court said the state machinery gets into action only after innocent lives are lost.

The HC was hearing a suo motu PIL on the deadly fire. Earlier, it had called it a “man-made disaster”.

The court also observed on Monday that all the Rajkot municipal commissioners, from the time the TRP gaming zone was set up in 2021 till the time of this 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 that the incident required immediate preventive and corrective measures, and the state will have to come forward to hold a person accountable, and this calls for drastic steps.

The court then said, “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, directing them, after their assurance, this is the sixth incident that has happened. They only want lives to be lost and then trigger the machinery,” the court observed.

The state has announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each deceased. The Central Government has also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased person.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat Congress has demanded that senior civic and state officials and office-bearers of the ruling BJP be named in the FIR registered in the Rajkot gaming zone fire, stressing that action against junior-level employees is meaningless. 

#Ahmedabad #Gujarat


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