The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the owner of a rubber godown in Malviya Nagar why he should not be made to pay the cost of extinguishing a major fire that broke out there in May this year.
The court observed that various authorities, including the Indian Air Force (IAF), have claimed varying amounts for dousing the fire and "the question arises who will reimburse the expenditure incurred by them."
"Why should the cost of extinguishing the fire be not recovered from you?" a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani asked the godown owner and issued a show cause notice to him.
The IAF has claimed over Rs 24 lakh for using one of its helicopters in the fire-fighting operations.
The court had earlier taken cognisance, on its own, of news reports of the fire in the rubber godown in South Delhi's Malviya Nagar on May 29. The fire started in a truck loaded with inflammable rubber sheets and spread to the godown in the congested locality.
The massive fire was controlled after 20 hours when up to 90 fire tenders were pressed into action along with a helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and 8,000 litres of water was used to douse it.
The fire was brought under control on May 30 with the help of the IAF, which conducted a 'Bambi Bucket' operation. It was the first time that a Bambi Bucket operation was carried out by the Air Force in an urban setting, the IAF had said in a statement.
The police had arrested Sanjay Saini, owner of the godown.
It was found that he was storing inflammable materials without proper permission from the MCD and there were no fire safety measures in place at the godown, police had claimed.
(With inputs from agencies.)