Mundka fire: Delhi Police arrest owner of building where 27 died in fire

Two days after 27 people died inside a four-storey commercial building near the metro station in Mundka, the Delhi Police arrested the owner of the building, according to officials Sunday.

Deputy commissioner of police of Outer District Sameer Sharma confirmed that the absconding owner of the building, Manish Lakra, was arrested by a team after conducting multiple raids in Delhi and Haryana.

The police said Lakra lived with his family on the top floor of the building that caught fire on Friday, and escaped by jumping to the terrace of the adjoining building.

They said two brothers, Harish Goel and Varun Goel, had taken three floors of the building for rent for their company, which primarily manufactured, assembled, and sold CCTVs and WiFi routers. The Goel brothers were arrested on Friday night.

Police said Lakra ran a real estate office from the ground floor and the Goel brothers took the first floor on rent from him in 2018. “In 2019, they took one more floor and in 2021, they took the third floor… They paid Rs 1.2 lakh as rent, via cash, to the owner, his wife and mother,” a senior police officer said.

The building had only one exit and police found that cartons were kept on the staircase, which hindered people from getting out when the blaze started on the first floor.

Delhi Fire Services (DFS) chief, Atul Garg, said: “The building didn’t have a fire NOC (no objection certificate) and clearance from the MCD. It seems the entire building was illegal.”

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