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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

Rajkot civic staffers forged documents day after game zone fire to destroy evidence: Police

The police have so far arrested six employees of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) in connection with the incident

PTI Rajkot Published 16.06.24, 01:19 PM
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Representational Image File photo

The civic employees arrested for a game zone fire in Rajkot allegedly conspired to forge documents by making backdated entries a day after the incident in a bid to destroy evidence and evade arrest, the police probe has suggested.

The fire at the TRP game zone in Gujarat's Rajkot city on May 25 claimed 27 lives.

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The police have so far arrested six employees of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) in connection with the incident.

A probe has indicated the arrested RMC employees "conspired to approve the impact plan of the TRP zone where the incident took place" by making backdated entries a day after the fire and destroy evidence, the investigation officer said in an application before Additional Judicial Magistrate B P Thakar on Friday.

The civic officials were involved in making forged entries in the inward register on May 26, a day after the incident, pertaining to the impact plan of the TRP game zone. The entry was shown as having been made on May 4, 2024, the police said.

The accused also drafted a query letter dated May 9, 2024 related to the entry dated May 4, said the application.

A new register with fake details was created by the accused and the old register was destroyed, the police said.

The accused persons presented false information recorded in the fake register kept in their possession. They also tampered with the inward register at the RMC's west zone office, the police said.

The register was forged to show the game zone management had applied for regularisation of the facility and that the RMC raised queries for the same, the police told the court.

These acts constitute offences under the given sections related to forgery, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy, they said.

The court on Friday allowed the police to invoke Indian Penal Code sections 465, 466, 471, 474, 120 (b), 201 and 114, pertaining to forgery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and abettor present when offence is committed, against the six arrested RMC employees.

The police had earlier arrested RMC's Town Planning Officer M D Sagathia, assistant TPOs Mukesh Makwana and Gautam Joshi, and former station officer of Kalavad Road fire station Rohit Vigora in connection with the incident.

On Saturday, they arrested RMC's assistant town planning officer Rajesh Makwana and assistant engineer Jaideep Chaudhary for their alleged involvement in forging a register by making backdated entries and destruction of evidence, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime, Parthrajsinh Gohil said on Sunday.

A co-owner of the game zone, Ashoksinh Jadeja, surrendered before the police on Thursday evening.

Jadeja is one of the six owners of the TRP game zone. Five of them have been so far arrested while one died in the May 25 fire.

A manager of the game zone has also been arrested in the case.

The CCTV camera footage showed the fire started after sparks fell on thermocol (polystyrene) sheets during welding work on the ground floor.

Though workers present there tried to douse the blaze with fire extinguishers, it spread quickly and eventually engulfed the game zone.

According to police, the game zone was being operated without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the RMC's fire department.

After the Rajkot incident, several game zones and other recreation hubs were sealed across the state and FIRs were also filed against their owners for running such facilities without requisite permissions.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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