The massive fire that broke out at Satpura Bhawan, the Bhopal-based administrative building complex that houses directorate-level offices of various departments of Madhya Pradesh, was doused after a 15-hour-long hours.
"The fire has been brought under control. All agencies including CISF, Army came together to douse the fire and it has been controlled," Ashish Singh, district collector, Bhopal told reporters.
Though there were official statements that the Indian Air Force plane AN-52 and MI-15 chopper will join the dousing operation in the night, the blaze was brought under control soon.
An investigation has been opened into the incident but Bhopal Police Commissioner Harinarayan Chari Mishra said that the primary probe revealed the cause of the fire is a short circuit. "The flames have been controlled but there is a cloud of smoke at different places, due to which there is a possibility that it may catch fire later but teams are working. As of now, there is no need (for IAF helicopters). Primarily it has come to the fore that the cause of the fire is due to a short circuit, but a team of experts has been formed to investigate it," said Mishra told reporters.
So far there are no casualties as the building was evacuated soon.
Meanwhile, there are apprehensions that many crucial records have been destroyed in the fire. Besides important documents, the fire may also have destroyed infrastructure worth crores of rupees in key departments like the chief minister’s coordination, health department, tribal welfare department, transport department and others, mainly housed in the third, fourth fifth and sixth floors of the building.
The documents include those in the complaints section of the health department related to complaints of employees/officials to agencies like the economic offences wing (EOW) and Lokayukta.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress raised questions about the incident, alleging that the fire might be a conspiracy to destroy the evidence of corruption by the BJP government out of apprehensions of losing power.
Former president of MP Congress Arun Yadav, former ministers P.C. Sharma and Jitu Patwari and spokespersons like K.K. Mishra and Sangeeta Sharma tweeted to say the fire incident had occurred on the day Priyanka Gandhi launched the poll campaign of the Congress and it might be a way to destroy evidence of corruption. They called it a sign of political change in the state.