LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court has granted bail to hoteliers Rahul Agrawal and Rohit Agrawal as well as hotel manager Sagar Srivastava in the Levana Suites fire tragedy case, in which four persons were charred to death and many others seriously injured.
Passing the order, Justice DK Singh observed, “There may have been some infraction of regulatory requirements to run a hotel, but that would not amount that the accused persons had been negligent or they failed to take due care of their guests or they had knowledge of the fire accident, which would result in death/injuries to the guests.”
The FIR in the matter was lodged by sub-inspector Dayashanker Dwivedi with Hazratganj police station on September 5, a day after the tragedy. The FIR had alleged that no arrangements for fire safety, emergency escape or entrance were made in the hotel and no arrangements were there for smoke to come out and also no such safety arrangement was there to counter such exigencies.
It was also alleged in the FIR that the hotel rooms were jammed with iron grills and thus, they could not be opened to rescue the occupants trapped inside. During the rescue operation, firemen faced immense difficulty in cutting open the iron grills.
The FIR further alleged that gas cylinders were kept in the hotel premises in a very unsafe and reckless manner and even within the hotel premises, the arrangement of electricity was also highly mismanaged.
The owners of the hotel and the managers did not make proper arrangements for fire safety and emergency exit etc. There was every likelihood of the fire being spread to neighbouring areas. It is further said that the owners and the manager of the hotel had knowledge that such lapses and lack of arrangements would likely threaten the lives and safety of the people.
Filing the bail pleas, it was argued on behalf of the accused that besides other offences they have been booked for the most serious offence of committing culpable homicide, but in fact, they had no knowledge that such an incident could ever occur and hence the offence cannot be charged against them. To this plea, the bench observed, “To attract the provisions of Section 304 IPC (committing culpable homicide), there has to be knowledge of an accused that his act would likely cause death.”
The state counsel and the victims’ lawyers opposed the bail pleas arguing that the NOCs were obtained by illegal means and the accused were aware that such an incident could happen on any day and hence they are not entitled for bail.
“Considering the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case and also the fact that the charge sheet has already been filed and the accused persons have been in jail since the first week of September 2022, I am of the opinion that the accused persons are entitled to be enlarged on bail,” said the bench.





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