The Delhi Police has arrested Rakesh Goel, the owner of hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh, in connection with the fire that broke out last Tuesday and left 17 people dead.
Goel was arrested by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch and will be produced in court today, DCP Rajesh Deo said.
DCP Deo said that Goel was arrested after information was received that he was travelling from Qatar by Indigo flight 6E 1702. The Immigration officials were alerted on the basis of a look out circular and he was detained and handed over the the Crime Branch.
The police will seek his remand in order to expedite the investigation.
Rakesh Goel was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a forgery case in 2008.
Last Tuesday, a massive fire had broken out in the wee hours of Hotel Arpit Palace and had left 17 people dead. When the fire broke out, the hotel was housing 60 guests in 35 of the 46 rooms. About a dozen staffers were also present in the hotel at that time. Out of the 17 people who died in the fire, two died after they jumped off the roof of the hotel to escape the flames.
During the course of the investigation, the police found out that the licence to run the hotel was in the name of Rakesh Goel’s brother Shardendu Goel, who lives in Karol Bagh’s Bank Street.
While Rakesh has been arrested, the police are still looking for Shardendu, who is on the run.
The first information report that was filed in the case stated that the hotel’s management knew that the use of inflammable materials in the building could endanger the safety of its guests.
It also said that for “their business”, the “licensee and the management” of the hotel had ignored the safety of its guests. The FIR was filed on the complainant of sub-inspector Jagmal Singh.
“There was no panic alarm on any of the floors or in the restaurants of the hotel,” the FIR read.
The FIR pointed out that there was only one emergency exit and that was found closed at the time of the incident. “Not a single person could escape through the emergency exit,” sub-inspector’s statement read.