By SUNIL Sonkar
Kolkata, March 24 — The caretaker and his assistant of 150-year-old Stephen Court building in Park were arrested and booked on negligence and other charges on Wednesday as the death toll rises to 24 with the recovery of 8 more bodies after a massive fire broke yesterday in it.
Fire brigade had lodged an FIR caretaker Tarun Bagadia and his assistant Ramshankar Singh. Gautam Mohan Chakraborty, Kolkata Police Commissioner, said that the promoter of this heritage building is absconding.
He added further that the fifth and sixth floors of Stephen Court were illegally constructed and “These were later regularised.”
The records of Kolkata Municipal Corporation says that there is one official trustee of Stephen Court apart from 45 apportioned share holders. The corporation has also declared the heritage building as a Grade-II heritage building for its architectural value.
The 18 bodies identified in the building after the fire was over included one of a child. Police said four bodies were charred beyond recognition and a DNA test will have to be conducted to find their identity. Moreover, police said, at least 5 people jumped to their death.
Fifteen people are still missing and their relatives are carrying photographs of their trying to trace them in the busy area.
According to preliminary investigations, short circuit in the lift between fifth and sixth floors could have been the reason for fire.
There were conflict claims over missing persons. Pratim Chatterjee, Fire Services Minister, said 24 people were missing where as Commissioner Chakraborty limits the number to 12-15.