Rajkot game zone fire: SIT holds meeting; DNA samples collected for identification of victims

Rajkot, May 26 (PTI) Members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) held a meeting with local administration in Gujarat’s Rajkot city in the wee hours of Sunday in connection with the fire at a game zone fire here that left 27 persons dead and three injured.

The bodies were charred beyond recognition. The DNA samples of the bodies and the victim’s relatives have been collected for identification of the deceased, they said.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel visited the incident site at Nana-Mava road on Sunday morning and a hospital where the injured persons were admitted.

The owner and manager of the game zone have been arrested, officials said.

Four children under the age of 12 were among the 27 persons killed in the massive fire that swept through a game zone teeming with people enjoying a summer vacation outing on Saturday evening, as per the officials.

The five-member SIT formed by the state government, to conduct a probe into the incident and submit a report within 72 hours, reached Rajkot late Saturday night and held a meeting with the local administration.

Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi also reached Rajkot late Saturday night and attended the meeting.

“The prime minister has sought the information of the incident from the chief minister and has expressed grief. The PM has directed that strong action be taken against the culprits,” he said.

Additional Director General of Police Subhash Trivedi, who heads the SIT, told reporters on Saturday night before the meeting that the incident was unfortunate and sad.

He said the inquiry will begin immediately to find out those responsible for it and ensure no such incident is repeated in the future.

“We will go through all the aspects of the incident and investigate them thoroughly…We will work with commitment and complete honesty and integrity to provide justice to the children who have lost their lives,” Trivedi said.

Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vinayak Patel said 27 bodies were recovered from the incident site and taken to the city civil hospital.

Three persons were injured in the incident and their health condition was stable, he said.

“The bodies are charred beyond recognition, and we have completed the process of collecting the DNA samples of the bodies and the relatives who have claimed them so that the identity of the deceased can be established. The death toll is not likely to rise any further,” he said.

The SIT, headed by ADGP Trivedi, includes Commissioner, Technical Education, BN Pani; Director, Forensic Science Laboratory, Gandhinagar, HP Sanghvi; Chief Fire Officer, Ahmedabad, JN Khadia; and Superintending Engineer, Roads and Buildings Department, MB Desai.

The exact cause of the massive fire is not yet known.

President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief over the incident.

PM Modi spoke to Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Saturday to enquire about the rescue and relief efforts.

The CM has announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to each injured.

After the fire broke out, Rajkot Police Commissioner Raju Bhargava told media persons that the cause of the blaze would be investigated and a message had been issued to all the gaming zones in the city to close operations.

In the wake of the fire tragedy, the state director general of police has issued instructions to the commissioners of police and superintendents of police to inspect all the game zones in Gujarat and close those running without fire safety permission.

The DGP has directed the police to carry out this procedure in coordination with fire officers of the municipalities and municipalities.

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