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Mumbai pub blaze: Who said slow down probe, opposition asks BMC chief

The opposition parties on Saturday took serious umbrage at the BrihanMumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta’s statements that he was under pressure “to go slow” on the probe into the December 29 pub fire that killed 14.

Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam lashed out at Mehta and challenged him to “reveal” and expose the politician who pressurised the civic body, ruled by the Shiv Sena.

“Mehta should not talk like a politician — Don’t make vague statements. Disclose the names of those who pressurised you to drag the probe,” Nirupam said.

“I reiterate that he is repsonsible for the incident and must be booked for it,” Nirupam told IANS.

He also asked the BMC chief to declare all the names of the owners of the 17-18 high-end pubs and bars functioning within the Kamala Mills Compoud complex which was the scene of the inferno last week that left another 55 injured.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande demanded that Mehta should be made to undergo “narco-test” to get to the truth in the matter.

“Who called up Mehta ‘to go slow’ on the action against illegal constructions in the Kamala Mills Compound – whether its from the ruling (Shiv Sena) or the Opposition ‘bhaiyyas’ (Congress),” Deshpande asked.

Mehta’s controversial statement was made late on Friday after the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) submitted its probe report into the pub blaze.

The MFB report has clearly confirmed that the blaze erupted in The Mojo’s Bistro and quickly spread to the adjacent 1Above and other premises, trapping an estimated 400-500 people present there that fateful night. IANS had reported on December 29, quoting BMC officials, that the fire was first noticed in The Mojo’s Bistro.

The BMC chief Mehta will submit the report to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis next week and it effectively corroborates the oft-made contentions of 1Above pub in the matter that the cause of fire was in The Mojo’s Bistro, which the latter has countered.