Mumbai: The fire at the Maharashtra Secretariat claimed five lives and caused severe structural damage as well. However, more than the structural damage, the loss of important files in the fire has stumped the state government.
Conspiracy theories abound as many allege the fire was intentionally started to destroy paper trails of corruption scams.
Even before the embers of the inferno died down, politics played out and conspiracy theories were offered.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, known to have an uneasy equation with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, was the first to stoke speculation, questioning just how the CM’s cabin was untouched by the fire.
"I wonder how everything around burned down but the CM’s cabin was untouched," said Pawar.
On the street though, the conspiracy theory gaining currency was that the fire was sabotage “to destroy corruption evidence”.
But it isn't the Adarsh housing society scam files, which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claims are safe, that are the cause for worry.
According to sources, almost all revenue land records and development/redevelopment permissions files were gutted in the fire. It potentially means several files pertaining to hundred of crores of land deals, many of them under the scanner, may never be found.
The fire has gutted the files of the revenue, the UDD, the home, the housing, cooperative and energy departments.
While the structural damage to the Mantralaya is clearly visible, the real damage in terms of critical documentation will only unravel in the days ahead.