Rajkot: One more partner held, police crackdown on unlicensed game zones

Gujarat HC pulls up state government and the municipal corporation over the fire at TRP game zone that kills around 35 people

Dhaval Thakkar arrested from Abu Road in Rajasthan (photo: PTI)
Dhaval Thakkar arrested from Abu Road in Rajasthan (photo: PTI)

NH Digital

The Gujarat police have arrested one more partner of the Rajkot-based TRP game zone where a devastating fire last week killed as many as 35 people, an official said on Tuesday, 28 May.

Dhaval Thakkar, the proprietor of Dhaval Corporation, which ran the TRP game zone along with five partners of Raceway Enterprises, was arrested from Abu Road in neighbouring Rajasthan, Banaskantha Superintendent of Police Akshayraj Makwana said.

With this, four persons have so far been arrested in connection with the fire incident at the game zone on Saturday.

"Thakkar was arrested from Abu Road in a joint operation carried out by the Rajkot and Banaskantha police last night," Makwana said.

The police had earlier arrested Yuvrajsinh Solanki and Rahul Rathod, partners in the Raceway Enterprises, and game zone manager Nitin Jain. They were on Monday sent to 14-day police custody by a court in Rajkot.

The police have registered an FIR against six persons - Thakkar, Solanki, Rathod, and Raceway Enterprises partners Ashoksinh Jadeja, Kiritsinh Jadeja and Prakashchand Hiran - in connection with the fire incident.

Meanwhile, Gujarat HC has pulled up state government and Rajakot municipal corporation over the 25 May incident.

The court took up the matter suo motu asking the municipal commissioner why he should not be held responsible personally for the “man-made disaster”, The Hindu reports.

Expressing surprise and shock, HC said the civic body did not bother to check even once when the structure was built and became operational.

In the wake of the incident, Ahmedabad City Police started inspection of game zones operating across the city.

It has come to light that six game zones are operating without proper police permission.

Officials shared, “To address this issue, the police have formed three dedicated teams to conduct thorough investigations. These teams are currently assessing the compliance and safety standards of the game zones.”

Ahmedabad police commissioner has mandated strict action against any violations found. Legal proceedings will follow based on the investigation reports.

“The police, in collaboration with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, will ensure that all establishments adhere to safety regulations. Immediate action will be taken against any game zone lacking in compliance," the officials added.

On Monday, 27 May, the Panchmahal district collector dispatched a team to inspect four game zones in Godhra. The inspection team included officials from the Godhra City Mamlatdar, the fire department, civil and mechanical engineering departments, the electricity distribution company, and the city police department.

The investigation revealed that four-game zone operations are under investigation as they did not match safety standards. One was in an open tent in the Vavadi area on the Godhra-Dahod main road that had not obtained a fire safety NOC for the last two years, resulting in its closure.

The investigation focused on several key aspects -- verification of required permissions and licences, assessment of maximum occupancy limits, examination of electrical loads, cables, and installations, inspection of fire safety equipment, escape routes, and exit gates, and evaluation of the strength and fitness of mechanical installations.

The inspections revealed multiple deficiencies, leading to immediate orders to close all four game zones. Sources said two zones cater to children, while the others are for pool and snooker enthusiasts.

At least 35 people, including 12 children, were killed after a massive fire broke out at the TRP game zone in Rajkot on 25 May.

With agency inputs

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