MOSCOW, March 28 (RAPSI) – A criminal case was opened against Ukrainian national Nikita Kuvikov known as pranker Yevgeny Volnov, who allegedly disinformed people of the death toll in the blaze in Kemerovo’s Zimnyaya Vishnya (Winter Cherry) shopping mall, Russia’s Investigative Committee reported Wednesday.

Kuvikov (Volnov) is suspected of inciting hatred and enmity.

According to investigation, the pranker distributed false information on the death toll in the accident through mass media and the Internet trying to destabilize the situation. Reportedly, he said that about 300 people were killed by fire.

Investigators are determined to petition a court for issuing an arrest warrant for the suspect in absentia. He will be put on the wanted list soon, the statement reads.

The fire in the mall occurred on March 25. Investigators reported that 64 persons including children were killed in the accident. A criminal case has been launched over involuntary manslaughter, violation of fire safety regulations that left more than two persons dead and provisions of services that don’t meet safety requirements.

Five persons were arrested and questioned, including a formal head of the mall’s owner company, a renter of a place where the fire allegedly began, a head and an employee in an organization maintaining the fire alarm and a guard who allegedly turned off the emergency notification system when he received a fire signal.

Investigators note that 70 persons were questioned as witnesses and allegedly numerous violations made during the mall construction were found. It was also revealed that fire exits were blocked.

According to the Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin, the two main versions of the tragedy are an electrical short circuit and arson. Technical, electrical and construction examinations would be conducted as part of the investigation, he said during the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

President Putin, who arrived in Kemerovo on March 27, said that negligence and slovenliness were the reasons for the tragedy. He declared March 28 a national day of mourning.