Fire guts Maharashtra state government building

Smoke from the burning Mantralaya building, which houses the Maharashtra state secretariat, is pictured moving past the Mumbai skyline on June 21, 2012.

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Three floors of the headquarters of the Maharashtra state government building in the Indian city of Mumbai have been gutted in a massive fire.

Reports say the Mantralaya complex has now been evacuated and several injured people were taken to hospital.

More than 20 fire engines are at the scene and reports say it could take hours to fully extinguish.

It is not clear what caused the blaze. Some accounts have blamed an electrical short-circuit.

More than 6,000 people work in the high-security, multi-entrance complex.

Reports suggest fire broke out on the fourth floor of the building and quickly spread to the sixth floor where Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has his office.

The Press Trust of India quoted sources saying the fire began in the office of state minister Babanrao Pachpute.

TV footage showed thick smoke bellowing out of the building and at least 20 people being rescued from a parapet by fire crews using hydraulic ladders.

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