Fire guts four buses at KSRTC depot; insiders' job suspected

Fire guts four buses at KSRTC depot; insiders' job suspected
Four buses, including three of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), were gutted in a fire at the depot near the satellite bus terminal on Mysuru Road, early on Thursday morning. The loss is estimated at Rs one crore.

Though the cause for the mishap is not known, preliminary investigations indicated the involvement of insiders in a bid to settle scores with some higher-ups. The KSRTC has ordered a departmental inquiry by a team comprising security, technical and traffic officers. Two Rajahamsa buses plying on the Mysuru route, one Karnataka Sarige spare bus and an Andhra Pradesh state transport bus were gutted in the fire.

According to the police, the fire broke out around 2.10 am at depot-6 of the Bengaluru Central Division, when a bus caught fire. It soon engulfed three other buses. Around 18 drivers were asleep at the depot and some of them saw the flames and called the fire services. They also informed the KSRTC managing director Rajender Kumar Kataria. Seven fire tenders were rushed to douse the fire, said the police.

“The theory of electric short-circuit by a few staff in the depot is highly suspicious and we are not willing to buy it. The buses were stationary and there was no power supply. It is said that there was an issue between a few drivers and the depot manager, Venugopal Swamy. The drivers set fire to the buses to settle scores with him. We will investigate the matter,” said a senior police officer.

However, Kataria told Deccan Herald that it was too early to say whether the fire was triggered by short-circuit or if somebody set the buses on fire.

“I went to the spot for an inspection. I have no information on any issues between the drivers and the depot manager. A team of engineers has been deployed to conduct a probe into the incident. If there are findings indicating any involvement of personnel, we will act,” he said.

Only the tops of the buses have been burnt and they could be repaired at the KSRTC depot itself. “I have requested teams from Tata and Ashok Leyland to examine the buses and tell us whether there were any technical issues with the vehicles,” he added.

The MD said CCTV equipment will now be installed in all major bus stations across the State. Depot-6 does not have CCTV cameras and therefore there is no visual evidence of what could have happened. The cameras will be installed over a period of three to four months, he said

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