BY FLYNN REMEDIOS: According to reliable sources, the cause of the blaze that killed 14 and wounded over 20 others was not due to a short circuit as is being made out by the Fire Brigade and other authorities. A fire show was organised by one of the joints, which was also running an illegal hookah palour. Sparks from the fire show, combined with hot, burning coal in the hookah pots caused the curtains to catch fire.
The fire spread in minutes due to the flammable material used in all the establishments in direct contravention of Fire Safety laws and norms.
It seems a retired IPS officer’s son owned the pub that was gutted in fire last night
*The fire broke out on the rooftop of the 1 Above restaurant , after its shed, made of bamboo and plastic, began to burn. It soon spread to the Mojo pub one level below, and had engulfed the building in less than 30 minutes. Many guests, who tried to take shelter in the bathroom got trapped and lost their lives, reports Times of India. However, an eye witness who was present at the venue claims the fire broke out in one of the illegal hookah palours and then spread to 1 Above.
Some of the businesses in the compound have blamed the owners of the mill, Kanti Gowani and Ramesh Gowani and Bala Kopade for illegally renting premises for so-called illegal activities. Even Phoenix Mills has several illegal and irregular complexes and is another disaster waiting to happen.
All the authorities concerned including the Mumbai Police, the BMC, the Fire Brigade and the different departments of the Government of Maharashtra have turned a blind eye to the irregularities and illegal construction in both Kamala Mills and Phoenix Mills in spite of several complaints by local and social workers. The media houses located in the same compound were also silent on the grave breach of safety norms in their own neighborhood.
Our source says MLC Prasad Lad’s security agency Krystal is working at the premises and is employed by more than one establishment. Lad must be questioned and a judicial enquiry set up regarding the breach of fire safety norms and the illegal modifications carried out by the owners of the commercial establishments.
Another source adds that the fire broke out first at Mojo’s Bristo and 1 Above, but the the third restopub London Taxi which is on the rooftop is being made out to be a victim.
Mojo’s Bristo is owned and managed by retired IPS officer Kaushal Pathak’s son Yog. Pathak was posted as Pune Police Commissioner before his retirement. There was a fire show on the bar table at one of the joints – Mojo’s Bristo or 1 Above. Both these joints are not licensed to serve hookah but still serve hookah in complete breach of the law. Another angle is that the curtains caught fire due to sparks released by the coal used in hookah. Clips of the fire show was also telecast by Tv 9 in a news bulletin.
Our source claims that an NGO had brought the illegalities in the area to the several news organisations present in the compound but the same was not aired because ‘they were neighbours’. The authorities went out of their way to give permissions to Pathak’s son and we are told that the local Ward Officer even paid money from his own pocket to complete the formalities.