A day after four people died in a fire that broke out at an apartment in Chennai, police are now on the lookout for its owner, an AIADMK member, who is absconding.
The News Minute had earlier reported that this building in South Perumal Koil street was an illegal construction and that the owner, Vijayakumar, did not have the required permission and approvals for the building. Police investigating the case have confirmed this and tell TNM, "Lot of buildings in this area do not have the necessary documents. This was initially temple land which has been used by this AIADMK member to build this apartment. We have filed an FIR but the accused is absconding for the last two day. As soon as we get hold of him, we will take him to court."
As far as a court order demanding the building be sealed is concerned, sources say, "The accused is close to the T Nagar MLA Sathya. He didn't comply with court orders to demolish the building. Orders were given last year itself. His two petitions against the demolition were dismissed. For the last three months, he has delayed the process."
How were tenants still inside a building that was to be sealed? "The corporation and CDMA were helpless because the tenants were unaware that it was an illegal building. Shops and tenants had paid a lease or an advance. They refused to move till they got back their money," says the officer.
At close to 4.30 am on Monday, what was reportedly a short-circuit led to a fire in the parking lot of the RJES apartment at Vadapalani. Over 20 bikes and cycles parked there caught fire, engulfing the building in thick smoke. An elderly woman named Meenakshi (60), her daughter Selvi (38) and two children - Sandhya (10) and Sanjay (8) died from suffocation due to thick smoke. Five others have been severely injured and are undergoing treatment in the Kilpauk Medical Hospital.