The owner of a New Delhi hotel where 17 people were killed in a fire has been arrested on charges of negligence and would be produced in court Sunday, police said.
The owner of Arpit Hotel in New Delhi's Karol Bagh area, where the deadly fire broke out on February 12, was arrested Saturday night at the international airport as he returned to India from Doha, a Delhi Police spokesman said.
Police said they had issued an arrest warrant for the hotel owner Rakesh Goel and his brother Shardendu Goel after the fire. This is now the third arrest in the case. Earlier, two senior managers at the hotel were arrested on charges of negligence and culpable homicide.
According to preliminary investigations, a suspected short circuit in an air conditioner installed in a first floor room may have sparked the fire, which rapidly spread across all five floors of the hotel and trapped an estimated 60 guests in their rooms.
At least 30 were rescued by firefighters while 15 died of burns and asphyxiation. Two persons died as they jumped off the building to escape the fire.
The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police leading the investigation said in a preliminary report the hotel was operating without the required license and fire safety measures.
It had no fire alarms, the emergency exit was locked and an unauthorized kitchen was being run on the rooftop.
‘Goel had been trying to sell off the hotel to pay his debts,’ NDTV news channel quoted an investigator as saying. The police are looking at all angles including sabotage, according to this official.
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