Kin of Rajkot fire victims meet CM; demand speedy trial, more compensation

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Ahmedabad, July 10 (PTI) Relatives of the victims of the game zone fire in Rajkot on Wednesday met Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and made several demands including a probe monitored by a committee of retired judges, speedy trial and a compensation of Rs 50 lakh per family.

As many as 27 persons including four children were killed in the massive fire that swept through TRP game zone, a recreation facility, in Rajkot city on May 25. It was allegedly being run by a private firm without the mandatory No Objection Certificate of the fire department.

Notably, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi had last week met family members of the victims of various recent tragedies in the BJP-ruled Gujarat, including the Rajkot fire incident, boat capsizing in Vadodara and the 2022 Morbi bridge collapse.

Family members of the Rajkot fire victims met CM Patel and Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi in Gandhinagar, and submitted a memorandum of demands, said their lawyer Narendrasinh Jadeja who led the delegation.

"Though the police have arrested 15 persons so far, many key accused are roaming free. We demanded that the probe should be carried out under the supervision of an inquiry committee of two retired Supreme Court judges, a retired chief justice of the Gujarat High Court, two retired HC judges and a retired woman civil judge," Jadeja told reporters afterwards.

The trial should be completed within six months, he added.

The relatives of the deceased also demanded that any two of three IPS officers -- Sudha Pandey, Nirlipt Rai and Sujata Majmudar -- be made members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the state government to probe the incident.

Claiming that corruption was the root cause of the tragedy, the memorandum demanded a CBI inquiry against sitting and former corporators, local MLAs, mayor, standing committee chairman and concerned IAS and IPS officers to find out who among them were responsible for letting the game zone operate in violation of several regulations.

"In the past, the Supreme Court had ordered a compensation of Rs 50 lakh in such cases. Hence, we want the government to attach the properties of all the corrupt officials involved in the case and give a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of each victim," said Jadeja.

CM Patel and Sanghavi assured them that necessary action was being taken to prevent such tragedies in future, he said. PTI PJT PD KRK