A case under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at Paud police station against Nikunj Shah, one of the owners of ‘SVS Aqua Technologies’, Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police (Pune, Countryside) said. On Tuesday, Shah was taken into custody after questioning, he said.
The case was registered after the inquiry report was submitted by the committee headed by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Sandesh Shirke, the official said. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the company did not comply with the fire safety and building permit norms.
The superintendent of police said the plant did not have an open space or emergency door for emergency exit. According to some workers, the part which caught fire, the doors were locked and local people with the help of JCB broke the wall and rescued the trapped people.
Regarding the cause of the fire, Superintendent of Police Deshmukh said that the material used in the production of ‘chlorine dioxide’ is inflammable. In such a situation, heat or spark due to friction can be the reason for the fire. He said several eyewitnesses have spoken of friction or sparks being raised.
He said that forensic experts have collected samples of the chemical and after investigation it will be known what kind of chemical process took place. On the question of making sanitizers by the company, the official said that it does not seem so because small quantities of sanitizers were found which can be used by the employees.
Mulshi division’s sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Sandesh Shirke said on Monday that 18 bodies have been recovered from the premises, while superintendent of police Abhinav Deshmukh said 17 bodies were found, which were completely burnt and one body was found dead. The organ was recovered during a search operation. Deshmukh said, “We suspect that this body part could be of one of the 17 dead. Therefore, we are currently treating the death toll as 17.” He said that according to the company officials, these are the 17 employees who were present on the spot at the time of the incident.
A fire broke out on Monday at SVS Aqua Technologies’ plant, which produces ‘chlorine dioxide’. The plant is located in Piragunt area of Mulshi tehsil near Pune city. The search operation was called off on Monday night due to darkness and the heat rising from the fire. The fire brigade officials once again started the rescue operation on Tuesday morning. A department official said, “On Tuesday morning, we once again started the search operation so that if anyone is trapped under the debris, they can be traced.
At the same time, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has ordered an inquiry to find out the proper cause of the fire and has also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.