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Thursday February 22, 2024

RJ Mall builder’s son among eight suspects handed over to police

By Our Correspondent
December 10, 2023

A court on Saturday remanded eight suspects, including a son of the RJ Shopping Mall’s builder, in police custody in a case pertaining to the deadly fire in the commercial building on Rashid Minhas Road that claimed 11 lives.

The investigating officer produced three-newly arrested suspects — Hassan Dhoni, Yawar, and Hashir — before Judicial Magistrate (East) Rashid Ali Ujjan and requested grant of their physical remand in police custody for interrogation. He also brought five suspects — Imran and Adnan, the owners of a software firm housed in the building, administrators of the mall, Sultan and Faizan, and security in-charge Abid Shah — to the court on the completion of their physical remand and sought extension in their custody.

Firefighters douse the fire at a shopping mall in Karachi on November 25, 2023. — AFP
Firefighters douse the fire at a shopping mall in Karachi on November 25, 2023. — AFP

The IO stated that the three new suspects were arrested for concealing evidence, including the digital video recorder (DVR) containing CCTV footage of the mall, and documents.

Defence lawyer Aamir Mansoob Qureshi contended that Hassan Dhoni has nothing to do with the incident or with the mall. He moved an application before the magistrate, requesting him to discharge the suspect from the case under Section 63 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The state prosecutor said that the missing DVR was recovered after the arrest of Hassan Dhoni.

Advocate Liaquat Ali Gabol, who represented Imran and Adnan. also moved a similar application, stating that his clients suffered millions worth of losses as their office was damaged in the fire incident and their three employees also died. Both the suspects were neither the builder and nor responsible for the building, he added.

The magistrate handed over all the suspects to the police on physical remand until December 13 with a direction to the IO to produce them on the expiry of their remand. Meanwhile, he issued a notice to the state prosecutor to forward his arguments on the suspects’ applications.

Eleven citizens lost their lives and six others were injured in the deadly blaze in the shopping mall on November 25.

An FIR was registered under sections 322 (punishment for qatl-bis-sabab), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Sharea Faisal police station on the complaint of Sub-inspector Sardaruddin Mirani.

The IO has invoked Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the PPC against the three new suspects.