• Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Surat fire tragedy: Police arrest coaching operator, order closure of all tuition centres

Surat (Gujarat) , May 25 : Hours after 20 people lost their lives in a major fire at a coaching centre, the police on Friday arrested the main accused and ordered to shut down all coaching centres in Surat until they get a fire safety certificate from the fire department.

The police held Bhargav Bhutani, the main accused and operator of the coaching centre which is located in Takshashila building near Sarthana Jakat Naka in the city.

An FIR was registered under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and section 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of the Indian Penal Code in Sarthana police station against Bhutani and owners of the complex -- Harshal Vekaria and Jignesh Padgal, Surat police said.

"We launched an operation to nab the accused soon after registering the FIR. The main accused Bhargav Bhutani was arrested on Friday night," Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said on Saturday.

The operation was on to nab the rest two accused.

Surat Crime Branch ACP Sarvaiya has been tasked with investigating the case, Sharma stated.

He said, "We have issued a notification under Section 144 of the CrPC to ban all the tuition classes with immediate effect. The ban has been imposed to ensure fire safety measures in all such classes."

"The operators of tuition classes will have to first get fire safety checking done and necessary safety equipments installed at their premises. They have to get a fire safety certificate and put it up at their coaching centre," Sharma added.

A blaze ripped through the coaching centre located in Takshashila Arcade in Surat's Sarthana area, killing as many as 20 people, mostly students, and injuring many others.

Several students were seen jumping off the building to escape the inferno. Some people were unable to escape and died on the spot. As the rescue operations were carried out, charred bodies were found. The fire was reportedly triggered by a short circuit.

The top cop expressed grief over the unfortunate incident and promised to ensure justice to the victims as soon as possible.

He said, "This is a very sad incident. We have full sympathies with the deceased and injured. We will try that that victims get justice at the earliest."

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had on Friday ordered an investigation and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of those killed.

Rupani said, "Twenty people have lost their lives in the tragedy in spite of our rescue efforts. Students, aged around 20 years, were trapped in the coaching centre when the fire broke out in the stairway."

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