New Delhi: The Crime Branch has arrested the owner of Hotel Arpit Palace, five days after a fire at the Karol Bagh establishment killed 17 people and injured 35.
Rakesh Goel was arrested from the IGI Airport on Saturday after the Delhi Police received a tip off that Goel was travelling from Qatar by Indigo flight 6E 1702, they said.
Goel was arrested after brief questioning, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajesh Deo said. He will be produced in court on Sunday.
The Crime Branch had on Thursday issued a look out circular against the Goel and his brother Shardendu Goel to alert the immigration officers, informing them that the duo are wanted by the police.
DCP Rajesh Deo on Karol Bagh hotel fire which killed 17 people: Delhi Police Crime Branch has arrested Rakesh Goel, the owner of hotel Arpit Palace. He shall be produced in court today. pic.twitter.com/flzvrxp8o3— ANI (@ANI) February 17, 2019
According to the fire services, the tragedy could have been averted had the fire alarms been functional and the fire exits not blocked at the hotel.
“There were around 55 guests, all asleep, in the Arpit Palace Hotel in Karol Bagh area when the fire broke out around 4 am,” news agencies quoted a fire services officer as saying.
Blaming the hotel management for delay in reporting the fire, Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg said: "During investigation, it was found that there were lapses on the part of the hotel management as they did not initially inform the control room of Delhi Fire Service (DFS) about the fire in real time.”
"They informed us at 4:35 am when flames spread across a major portion of hotel from the second floor to first and fourth including the top floor cafeteria," he said.
"After sensing the gravity of fire that reached the top floor, the fire fighters later took the help of a hydraulic fire engine and rescued the trapped victims after breaking the window panes," Garg added.
"Prima facie, some lapses were found on the part of the hotel management as the emergency exit were also blocked from inside," Deputy Commissioner of Police Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.
The dead included at least four women, 10 men, a hotel cook and a child who could not escape the leaping flames and the thick smoke in the hotel in the commercial-cum-residential district of Karol Bagh.
Two bodies are yet to be identified, officials said.