Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil today said he will move the Bombay High Court seeking CBI probe into the Kamala Mills compound fire, which claimed 14 lives. Addressing a press conference here, he said a PIL in this regard will be filed next week. Vikhe Patil also alleged that the Bhima-Koregaon violence was a state-sponsored riot and demanded that the judicial probe into the violence should be monitored by the high court. On December 29, the fire had swept through 1 Above and the adjacent Mojo's Bistro resto pub at the Kamala Mills compound here, resulting in the death of 14 persons. "I will move the Bombay High Court seeking CBI probe into the Kamala Mills compound fire," Vikhe Patil said. He said a Congress delegation will also meet Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, seeking suspension of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta. The opposition leader said the government had entrusted the inquiry into the Kamala Mills fire to Mehta. "This is ideological bankruptcy. How can you ask the Commissioner to probe the fire, which has been caused due to corruption in the civic body, apathy of the government and inefficiency of the commissioner himself," Vikhe Patil asked. "Provision of section 302 of IPC (punishment for murder) should have been invoked against Mehta and he should have been suspended," Vikhe Patil said. The Congress leader said Mehta publicly says a political leader called him to stop demolition against unauthorised structures following the blaze. "He is yet to name the politician. This means he wants to brush corruption under the carpet. If Mehta does not reveal the name, his call records should be checked. Facts like Mehta succumbs to pressure and takes decisions against rules and covers up corruption are enough proof to suspend him with immediate effect," Vikhe Patil said. He said that corruption in the civic body resulted in recent incidents like fire at a farsan (snack) mart at Sakinaka, building collapse at Ghatkopar and Bhendi Bazar, fire at film studios. All these cases should be probed by CBI, he added. He said the Congress delegation to the Governor will demand suspension of BMC commissioner, directing the government to give a detailed account of corruption in the BMC and hand over the probe of fire incidents to CBI. According to him, there were eight incidents of fire in Mumbai two days ago. "On January 6, Cinevista Studio caught fire. There are 85 studios in the city, which are death traps.
Film sets prone to fire are erected without BMC permission and proper safety rules," he alleged. Vikhe Patil said everyday film shootings are held on 150-200 sets. Each set has about 60 labourers, most of them daily wagers, who are not covered under any labour law. "A labourer's body was found 11 hours after the Cinevista fire," he said. He charged that the Government had no concern for the lives of poor people. "Seventeen people died in the Ghatkopar building collapse. Twelve labourers died in the farsan mart fire at Saki naka. No action has been taken against any civic official," he said. Talking about the Bhima-Koregaon violence, he said the incident showed the state home department's inefficiency. "The build-up to create tension and pit the Marathas against Dalits was happening, but the government turned a blind eye. This was nothing but a state-sponsored riot," he charged. He alleged that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis does not have "morality" to quit his post "But he should have relieved himself of the home portfolio... Action should have been taken against the top police officers for failing to sense tension and take preventive steps," he said. Vikhe-Patil demanded that the judicial probe into the violence should be monitored by the high court.
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