A hotelier was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly sheltering at his suburban residence in Juhu three owners of the 1 Above pub wanted in connection with the Kamala Mills fire that claimed 14 lives last month, police said.
Two weeks after the fire tragedy, the pub owners -- Hitesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Mankar -- continue to evade arrest despite the police widening its dragnet and issuing lookout notices for them.
Police on January 1 had arrested Sanghvi brothers uncle Rakesh Sanghvi and cousin Aditya Sanghvi, both residents of Mazgaon in south Mumbai, for allegedly sheltering them. The duo were later released on bail by a local court.
Police today arrested Vishal Kariya, who owns hotels and pubs in the city, after questioning him in connection with the whereabouts of the trio. Police recovered a high-end car belonging to Mankar from Kariyas place.
"Vishal Kariya, who owns hotels and pubs in the city, was placed under arrest after a team of N M Joshi Marg Police picked him for questioning," Deputy Commissioner of Police Akhilesh Mishra told PTI.
During investigation, it came to light that 42-year-old Kariya had sheltered the three owners at his residence, he said.
The Sanghvi brothers and Mankar are absconding since December 29 when the fire swept through the 1 Above pub and the adjacent Mojos Bistro resto pub in Kamala Mills compound in central Mumbai.
Police booked the Sanghvi brothers, Mankar and others under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
The Mumbai police also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information on the whereabouts of the accused trio.
In its preliminary probe report, the Mumbai Fire Brigade said the blaze possibly started at Mojos Bistro due to flying embers of hookah and spread to the adjacent 1 Above, a terrace resto-pub.
Following the Fire Brigade report, the police last week arrested Yug Pathak, one of the co-owners of Mojos Bistro.
Another co-owner of Mojos Bistro, Yug Tulli, a Nagpur-based businessman, yesterday filed a pre-arrest bail application before a Mumbai sessions court. The court today posted the application for hearing on January 11, saying it was not granting any interim protection to Tulli.
The police had earlier arrested 1 Above managers Kevin Bava and Lisbon Lopez in connection with the fire. Their bail applications will come up for hearing tomorrow.
In a related development, the Bombay High Court, while hearing a PIL, today said that authorities must ensure that norms are followed when giving clearances for commercial establishments.
The PIL filed by former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro seeks a judicial inquiry into the December 29 incident and also a direction to the government and the civic body to carry out a fire safety audit of all eateries and restaurants in the metropolis.
"The court should set up a judicial commission for fixing up the accountability of public officers and private persons involved in the tragic incident," the PIL said.