Three officials including a director of a shipping firm have been arrested in connection with the sinking of the barge P-305 off the Mumbai coast during cyclone Tauktae, city police said on Saturday. Prasad Ganpat Rane (43), Nitinkumar Singh (32) and Akhileshwar Tiwari (49) of Papa Shipping Pvt Ltd were arrested on Friday, said a police official.
Rane is a manager, Singh a director and Tiwari works as a technical superintendent, he said. Barge P-305, provided by the company to a contractor engaged by the ONGC for maintenance of its offshore gas and oil fields, sank on May 17 as cyclone Tauktae barreled towards Gujarat past the Maharashtra coast.
The barge was used to accommodate personnel working for the contractor. As many as 71 workmen drowned while 186 persons were rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard. On a complaint filed by Mustafizur Rahman Husain Shaikh, chief engineer of the barge, a case under IPC sections 304 (2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) was registered at Yellow Gate police station here against its captain Rajeshkumar Ballav (52), who himself died in the tragedy. During the investigation, the role of the three officials of Papa Shipping came to light following which they were arrested, said the police official. A court remanded them in police custody till July 8 on Saturday, he added.
It was alleged by some of the survivors that the barge was not in a good condition and it was not moved away to safety in time despite the cyclone warning.