Many cases shut after investigations routinely blame short-circuits, letting those responsible for safety rule violations off the hook in Delhi.
Thursday’s Peeragarhi blaze case has been transferred to the Crime Branch. On his part, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain has also ordered a magisterial inquiry.
But it’s highly unlikely that anyone in particular will be held responsible for criminal lapses that led to a brave firefighter’s death – if past cases are any indication. Last year, till December 15, the National Capital saw as many as 22,837 fire incidents in which 80 people died. In 2,372 cases, people received injuries.
In about 60 per cent of these cases, Crime Branch and magisterial investigations were conducted only to find one common culprit: short-circuit! Fixing no real accountability for what led to these short-circuits allowed most cases to be shut and those responsible for safety rule violations to go off the hook, a Mail Today reality check has revealed. A case in point: Nine people were killed while two others critically injured in a massive fire at a garment godown in Delhi’s Kirari area on December 23. A short-circuit again emerged as the cause. And nobody was held accountable.
“In case of electric short-circuit, we cannot book anyone until it is an illegal establishment or faults on safety norms,” said Chinmoy Biswal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East). In case of fire at an illegal establishment, the police book the owner under Section 304 A (causing death due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, which is a bailable offence. “Even if fire breaks out due to short-circuit, the builder, owner, residents or occupants are to be blamed for negligence, depending upon the exact reason causing the fire. But instead of finding the man behind the tragedy, the police close the case and fix no accountability,” said LN Rao, former Delhi Police official.Source: India Today