A day after 12 labourers died following an explosion at a godown in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, the police on Thursday arrested three persons, including its owners, on the charge of culpable homicide. The tenant who had stored drums filled with chemicals in the godown on Pirana-Piplaj Road on the city's outskirts was also arrested, an official said.
As a powerful explosion ripped through the structure on Wednesday morning, a part of it collapsed and 12 labourers, including five women, were killed and 10 others were injured. An FIR was registered at Narol police station on Thursday evening and godown owners Buta Bharwad and Nanu Bharwad and tenant Hetal Sutaria were arrested, said Joint Commissioner of Police Gautam Parmar.
They were booked under various IPC sections including 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house). "Preliminary investigation has revealed that the explosion was the result of some chemical reaction. The Picture will be clearer after we receive a report from forensic experts," Parmar told reporters.
The Bharwad duo own the whole premises having several godowns separated by walls and have rented them out, the police said. One section was rented out to Sutaria, the owner of chemical trading firm Sahil Enterprise, said Deputy Commissioner of Police A M Muniya.
"Sutaria had stored various hazardous chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, in the godown. He did not have any license to store such chemicals. It is suspected that the explosion occurred when some mixing process was going on," Muniya said in the morning. The explosion destroyed three or four adjoining godowns where labourers were packing textiles and garments.
The state authorities, meanwhile, have ordered a crackdown on godowns storing hazardous chemicals illegally in Ahmedabad and other cities of the state. A two-member team of IAS officials is conducing a probe into the incident.