Ahmedabad: The Surat police on Saturday arrested the manager of the coaching centre, where a massive fire broke out, leading to the tragic death of 23 students. Two other accused, including the builder, are said to be absconding.
The police have named three people in the FIR lodged late on Friday night, for “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” and “attempt to murder”.
The government on Saturday also suspended Deputy Chief Fire Officer S K Acharya and Fire Officer Kirti Modh in Surat
The FIR lodged at the Sarthana police station states that the coaching class, on the fourth floor of the ‘Takshashila Arcade’ building, was illegally constructed by the two accused, identified as Harsulbhai Vekariya and one Jignesh Savjibhai. They had not obtained the appropriate permission for construction.
According to the FIR, there was no fire safety equipment on the floor and neither was there any precaution taken for emergency evacuation.
“Despite knowing that there was no fire safety equipment and safe passage for evacuation in the case of such emergency, the two accused Harshu and Jignesh rented out the premises to the accused manager of drawing coaching centre Bhargav Bhutani.”
The complainant in the case is a police constable Ayub A Vadgama.
Till Saturday evening, a total of 23 students have died, while six more are said to be critical. Among the victims are 16 girl students. Three of these girls, Surani Hasti, Yashvi Kevadiya and Mansi Varsani were standard XII students whose results were declared on Saturday. They all passed the examination.
The parents have blamed the fire department and police for not taking immediate action to save their children. Although the fire department officers reached the spot in less than ten minutes, they didn’t have the necessary tools to begin the rescue operation. The fire officers blamed the police for not clearing the traffic and the crowd which had gathered all around the spot.
The district administrations in Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and other cities have issued notices to all the coaching institutes to shut down till further orders. Teams have been formed to inspect all the centres running in commercial as well as residential areas in the state.
The investigation into the incident has been handed over to Surat crime branch, which arrested the manager early on Saturday morning. The assistant commissioner of police R R Sarvaiya, who is probing the case, said that two other accused are on the run.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Ahmedabad on Sunday to meet his mother Hiraba in Gandhinagar. He is also likely to meet the victims of fire incident in Surat.