Two years on, mock drill victim waits for justice

Home, fire depts yet to sanction prosecution of 'negligent' officers

Two years on,  mock drill victim waits for justice

The Home department and the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services department top brass are apparently shielding officers whose negligence during a mock drill claimed the life of a garment’s factory employee two years ago.

The department heads have not yet given the mandatory permission to the RMC Yard police to file a charge sheet against K Mariyanna (fire station officer of Yeshwantpur), Devaraju (district fire officer), K Narayanaswamy (fireman) and N U Erappa (chief fire officer of Bangalore West) as ‘they failed to take precautionary measures’ during the mock fire drill on February 24, 2012, which resulted in the death of the woman. 

Nalini, 24, a welfare officer at Bombay Rayon Fashions Limited, a readymade garments factory in the Yeshwantpur industrial suburb, fell to death from the fourth floor of the factory after a rope that was tied to her waist snapped. She hailed from Gauribidanur in Chikkaballapur district.

“We completed the investigation and collected evidence to prove that the tragedy took place due to negligence of the four officers,” said an official of the RMC Yard police.The police wrote letters to the departments seeking sanction, but there has been absolutely no response. The police would immediately file the charge sheet against the accused officers once the sanction is given, he said.

Report to be sought

Home Minister K J George told Deccan Herald that he would seek a report from the department on Monday and look into the matter. 

Omprakash, DGP of Fire and Emergency Services, said he would look into the letter and take action accordingly. Regarding compensation, the decision should be taken at the government level, he said. 

“It is an accident and there was some negligence on our part too,” said Omprakash.The Fire department submitted the inquiry report to the Home department on March 4, 2012. 

The findings pointed out that the rope used to help Nalini reach the ground was old and had not been tested for its tensile strength. 

The Yeshwantpur fire station received the rope on May 26, 2007. It was used over 39 times in mock drills. It had lost all its physical strength and the diameter of the rope had reduced from 80 mm to 60 mm, said a senior officer quoting the report. The old rope was used even when new ones were available. 

Also, one of Nalini’s colleagues had used it before her turn came and it had weakened. The officers at the Yeshwantpur fire station did not bother to use the 10 brand new coils of rope which they had, the report said. 

Nalini’s brother Harish told Deccan Herald: “We met the then chief minister Sadananda Gowda and sought compensation and action against the errant officers, but there is no progress even after two years. Fate would have been different had my sister been a high profile person,” he said. 

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