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Rajkot Police Commissioner Transferred Following Fire At Gaming Zone That Killed 28

Additionally, Rajkot City's Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration, Traffic, and Crime) Vidhi Choudhary has been transferred without a new assignment. Mahendra Bagria, former Deputy Inspector General for the Kutchh-Bhuj (West) zone, will replace her.
07:53 PM May 27, 2024 IST | Aniket Raj
rajkot police commissioner transferred following fire at gaming zone that killed 28

Rajkot police chief Raju Bhargava has been transferred days after a devastating fire at a gaming zone in the city claimed the lives of 28 people, including nine children. As of now, he has not been assigned a new post.

He will be replaced by Brajesh Kumar Jha, the Special Commissioner of Police from Ahmedabad.

Apart from Mr. Bhargava, Rajkot City's Additional Commissioner of Police (Administration, Traffic, and Crime) Vidhi Choudhary has also been transferred and has not yet been assigned a new post. In her place, Mahendra Bagria, the former Deputy Inspector General for the Kutchh-Bhuj (West) zone, will take over.

Also, Sudhirkumar Desai, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Rajkot City (Zone 2), has been replaced by Jagdish Bangwara, who previously served as the Superintendent of Vadodara's Central Prison.

The changes came hours after the Gujarat High Court criticized the Rajkot civic body and the state government for failing to ensure that the game zone (where the fire occurred, along with a second in the city and three in Ahmedabad) had obtained mandatory certifications, including those for fire safety and building codes.

The court expressed anger upon learning that the two gaming zones in Rajkot had been operating without the required permits for over 24 months each, stating that it could no longer "trust" the state government.

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The court also criticized the state government, stating, "Have you gone blind? Did you fall asleep? Now we do not trust the local system and the state," in response to the revelation that fire safety certification hearings had been unresolved for four years.

CCTV footage, showed a fire starting during welding work; sparks fell on plastic, which caught fire and could not be contained by panic-stricken workers.

The fire may have also been the result of an electrical short circuit, according to sources. However it started, as the fire spread, a temporary structure near the entrance collapsed, trapping a number of people. The facility had only one emergency exit.

There was some fire safety equipment, but the action taken was insufficient, according to police. The blaze burned so fiercely that many of the bodies recovered could not be identified, forcing authorities to rely on DNA testing to identify the deceased.

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