FIR against 6 partners of Rajkot game zone, 2 held; facility didn't have fire NOC, say police

Police have registered an FIR against six partners of a game zone in Gujarat's Rajkot city on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and arrested two persons after a fire there killed 27 persons, officials said on Sunday.
Fire engulfed Rajkot Game Zone
Fire engulfed Rajkot Game Zone

Rajkot | Police have registered an FIR against six partners of a game zone in Gujarat's Rajkot city on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and arrested two persons after a fire there killed 27 persons, officials said on Sunday.

The local police in November 2023 granted a booking license to the gaming zone, which was renewed for the period from January 1 to December 31, 2024, Rajkot Police Commissioner Raju Bhargava told reporters.

"The game zone had received permissions from the roads and buildings department. It had also submitted a proof of fire safety equipment to obtain the fire NOC which was under process and not yet completed," the official said.

The game zone had fire safety equipment but action taken to control the blaze was not sufficient, leading to the tragedy on Saturday, he said.

Twenty seven persons, including four children, were killed and three others injured in the massive fire that swept through the TRP game zone in the Nana Mava locality teeming with people who were enjoying a summer vacation outing on Saturday evening, officials earlier said.

As per the FIR, the accused persons erected a 50-metre wide and 60-metre long structure with the height of around two-three storey building using metal sheet fabrication to create a game zone.

They did not have a proper fire fighting equipment and had not obtained the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the local fire department, thereby endangering the lives of people despite knowing that a blaze in such a structure could cause deaths and injuries, said the FIR.

Yuvrajsinh Solanki, a partner in the Raceway Enterprise, which operated the TRP game zone, and the entertainment facility's manager Nitin Jain have so far been arrested, Rajkot Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Parthrajsinh Gohil said.

The six persons against whom the case was registered by the Rajkot taluka police in the wee hours of Sunday are Dhaval Corporation proprietor Dhaval Thakkar, Raceway Enterprise partners Ashoksinh Jadeja, Kiritsinh Jadeja, Prakashchand Hiran, Yuvrajsinh Solanki and Rahul Rathod, as per the FIR.

The case was registered against six identified persons and others whose names are revealed during the investigation, it said.

The accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 337 (causing hurt by an act that endangers life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt to a person by doing an act that endangers their life or personal safety) and 114 (someone present when offence is committed), as per the FIR.

The name of Nitin Jain, the game zone's manager, came up during the investigation, Gohil said.

Four different teams of the crime branch have been formed to nab the four absconding accused, Bhargava said.

The investigation in the case has been handed over to the crime branch and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Rajkot police headed by Joint Additional Commissioner of Police Vidhi Chaudhary, he said.

Notably, the Gujarat government has also formed a five-member SIT headed by state Additional Director General of Police Subhash Trivedi to investigate the incident.

Bhargava said, "All our efforts will be to complete the investigation and file a chargesheet at the earliest. For this, a forensic science laboratory (FSL) team has reached here from Gandhinagar, and all other required action will be taken...We have also asked the state government to appoint a special public prosecutor."

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

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.

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