ESIC Hospital fire: 2 accused sent to judicial custody

Their lawyer says dense smoke, not short circuit killed people

The Andheri magistrate court on Thursday sent two arrested in connection with the ESIC Hospital fire to judicial custody till January 3.

On December 19, the MIDC police had arrested two employees of Supreme Constructions, the company that won the contract to expand the hospital building, which has 325 beds and five floors. Around 375 people, including patients and visitors, were inside the building when the fire broke out.

Nilesh Mehta, the site supervisor, and his assistant Nitin Kamble were in-charge of wiring and electrical work. They have been charged under Sections 304 A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code, and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act.

Two welders, whose alleged negligence led to the fire, have also been named as accused and are wanted in the case. Advocate K.K. Shukla, appearing for both the accused, said in court, “Section 304 is not applicable because the fire brigade report does not mention a short circuit. The people who died were patients and admitted to be treated for their respective ailments.”

Mr. Shukla said the deaths were caused because of the spread of smoke following the fire. He said, “Medical reports show that the patients choked and died. Both my clients are not responsible in anyway for the fire.” Mr. Shukla said that fire brigade officials had also listed violations such as the building having only one fire extinguisher, no functional water sprinkler and fire alarm.

Mr. Shukla said, “The fire spread to the godown of the hospital, where a lot of plastic and medical instruments were stored. The materials caught fire and it caused a lot of smoke. The people were killed because they inhaled carbon dioxide and because of a short circuit.”

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 2:05:59 PM |

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