Fadnavis today promised action against errant civic officials and the owners of a pub, adding that he had ordered safety audit of all such structures in the city. "The guilty won't be spared," Fadnavis said.
BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said he had asked Fadnavis and the BMC commissioner to order a special fire audit of all such pubs and hooka parlours in Mumbai. "Several such establishments at the Mills compound are illegal, part of which was regularised lately. The place where the blaze took place was illegal," he claimed.
Doctors said they died of asphyxiation, apparently as they tried to flee the burning building. Local media reported that a false ceiling had collapsed in the four-storey building.
More than 12 fire tenders were rushed to fight the blaze. A rescue operation was launched to pull out the people trapped inside the pub. The fire was finally brought under control around 6.30 am.
Among those killed was Khushboo Mehta, who was celebrating her 29th birthday at the restaurant. An eyewitness said the place was engulfed in flames soon after the fire started. She added that there was a stampede since no one knew where the fire-escape doors were.
Police said they were investigating the cause of the fire, and had filed a preliminary case against the restaurant's owners.
Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under various charges including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They are also charged IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
Several media outlets, including TV news channels Times Now, ET Now and TV9 Marathi, have offices in the complex.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy. "Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.