Mayor of the capital city Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava said on March 18 that construction firm Evra, owned by MP Valeri Gelashvili of the opposition Republican Party, could have been behind fire, which destroyed one of the schools in the Avlabari district of Tbilisi on March 18.
Ugulava, who described MP Gelashvili as “oligarch,” said in a live interview with Rustavi 2 television that Evra company has requested from the Education Ministry to hand over territory of the school and in return pledged to construct a new school in another location.
He said that there are “well-founded doubts” that the fire was deliberately set, citing that the construction firm Evra wanted to obtain the territory where the school is located.
The Tbilisi Mayor also said that criminal investigation has already been launched and “the guilty will be punished.”
The Evra construction firm had a financial dispute with the authorities over construction of the Presidential Residence in Tbilisi. Following an open confrontation with the governmental officials, MP Gelashvili was attacked last July and brutally beaten by unknown armed men. The opposition accused authorities of this attack and criticized for many times the Interior Ministry for a failure to investigate this daytime attack against the MP, which occurred in downtown Tbilisi.
The Republican Party leaders plan a news conference later on March 18 to respond to the allegations of the Tbilisi Mayor.