Maharashtra Mantralaya fire: 3 killed and 16 injured, destroyed crucial documents and files.

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aya-fireJune 22, Mumbai: Three people were killed and 16 others were injured when a major fire swept the Maharashtra Mantralaya building which houses the state secretariat here Thursday, with officials saying late Thursday the blaze was under control but yet to be fully doused.

The high-security offices of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy Ajit Pawar were burnt down in the fire that broke out around 2.40pm on the fourth floor of the south Mumbai state administrative headquarters, spread over 7 lakh sqft. It rapidly engulfed the top four floors, destroying crucial documents and files, possibly some related to the Adarsh housing society scam.

Over 3,000 people were evacuated to safety. The focus now is on the cooling operation which will take about 48 hours. The Chief secretary has directed the PWD to carry out structural audit once the building is declared safe by the fire department. The Maharashtra Cabinet will meet at 11 am on Thursday to discuss the situation.

Chief Minister Chavan has asked the Crime Branch to investigate the incident. But the Opposition wants an independent probe as it suspects a sabotage angle as key files related to Adarsh and other scams were kept in the secretariat.

Union ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde and former chief minister Ashok Chavan are scheduled to depose before a judicial commission probing the scam later this month.

CBI sources, however, said relevant Adarsh files were either in the agency’s custody or had been submitted to Bombay High Court. Chief minister Chavan said the damage to files could only be ascertained after a check.

“We have begun electronic scanning of files. The work is yet to be completed, but so far 3.18 crore pages have been scanned.” He has ordered a probe by the crime branch of Mumbai police. Structural and fire audits have been lined up tomorrow morning.

News Gathered by India News

Posted by on Friday, June 22nd, 2012. Filed under Cities, India News, Mumbai. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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