Factory, building owners held for fire tragedy

Factory, building owners held for fire tragedy

Bangalore: The Ramanagar district police on Tuesday arrested Amith Rathore, owner of S R Seating Systems and Ramakrishnaiah, the owner of the building where the factory had been housed, on the charges of criminal negligence.

The two will be produced before a magistrate court on Wednesday and the police are expected to seek their custody for further investigation into the case.

The government has ordered a thorough inquiry into Monday’s fire accident at S R Seating Systems at Kadabagere Cross, Magadi Road, that left six labourers dead.

Ramalingappa, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ramanagar, will head the special team formed to probe the accident. The arrests were made based on the case registered at the Tavarekere police station.

Meanwhile, of the seven men working in the factory, six were found dead in the blaze. The seventh, suspected to have gone out for tea early in the morning after locking the shutters from outside, is missing.

It had been said that the lone survivor was Nadeem Khan. However, after the bodies were shifted to Rajarajeshwari Medical College and Hospital at Kengeri and autopsies performed on Monday night, Shamsuddin, the younger brother of Sartaj, identified Nadeem Khan as among the dead and said it was Noor Hussein who was missing.

Anupam Agarwal, Superintendent of Police, Ramanagar, said: “All were working under Sartaj, the elder brother of Shamsuddin, who had brought them from Bijnore in Uttar Pradesh. During autopsy, faces of all the bodies were cleaned and this might have resulted in correct identification. There might have been some confusion at the accident spot leading to false identification.”

Lakshman, purchase manager, S R Seating Systems, had identified the six dead bodies as those of Sartaj, 28, the supervisor, Noor Hussein (28), Shoaib (22), Gazi (20), Usman (18) and Talib (24). He too had said Nadeem Khan was missing.

Bodies airlifted

After autopsy, all the six bodies were airlifted to Lucknow and from there to Bijnore. The bodies left Bengaluru International Airport by a special flight, Agarwal said.
The Ramanagar police have launched a manhunt for Noor Hussein. Ramalingappa said till Hussein was traced, nothing could be said of the origin of the fire and how the factory shutter was locked from outside. He did not rule out foul play.

The forensic team and the electricity board officials who inspected the scene of fire are expected to submit their report in a day or two. Sources in the Forensic Lab said they were yet to trace the origin of the fire.

The electricity board engineers said though the power connection was illegal and taken on a temporary basis for construction purposes, they have not been able to establish that the fire was triggered by a short circuit.

Labour Minister B N Bache Gowda, who visited the spot, said the labour department would inquire into the lack of labour safety measures and abject conditions in which the workers were forced to work. Ravi Kumar, Assistant Labour Commissioner, will head the probe.

He also said he would talk to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar for releasing compensation from the Chief  Minister’s Relief Fund to the families of the six victims.