more scrap dealers arrested in Deonar fire case

The Shivaji Nagar police on Friday night arrested two more scrap dealers in connection with the fire that took place at the Deonar dumping ground. Earlier, the Deonar police had arrested 13 scrap dealers for allegedly being involved in the crime.

The two arrested accused have been identified as Rafeeq Ahmed Khan (49) and Ateeq Ahmed Khan (42). According to the police, both of them are in the scrap business and would allegedly send rag-picker children to set the dumping ground on fire to collect metal scrap.

“We got information that Rafeeq and Ateeq were both also involved in the crime and were part of the gang that was involved in setting fire to the Deonar dumping ground,” said Balasaheb Jadhav, senior police inspector, Shivaji Nagar police station. He further added: “The arrested accused used to send rag-picker children to set fire to the heaps of garbage at the Deonar dumping ground so that they could collect metal scrap.”

The incidents of fire at Deonar dumping ground that took place in January and March this year had engulfed the entire eastern suburbs with a thick layer of smog, leading to various health hazards. The impact of the smog was such that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had to keep 78 schools in the area shut for almost a week. Even National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellites captured the incident.

According to the police, it was revealed during the course of the investigation that the fire at the Deonar dumping ground was not natural and that some mischief mongers had caused it. While probing the matter, the police had arrested a total of 13 scrap dealers earlier for allegedly using rag-picker children to set the dumping ground on fire to extract metal scrap.

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