Relatives of those klilled in the blast demand compensation for the kin of victims and action against the accused. (Photo: Bhupendra Rana)
A day after six workers were killed and four others critically injured in a high-intensity blast in Aims Industries Private Limited, a company bottling oxygen and hydrogen for hospital and industrial use, in Vadodara district, police on Sunday arrested three of the five accused.
The investigating team has so far arrested one of the directors, Satya Bal Nayar, the plant manager Akash Agarwal and the operator and supervisor Raju Rathwa. The owner and chairman of the company Siddharth Patel and his son Shwetanshu Patel, who is also one of the directors, are yet to be arrested. All the accused were booked under IPC sections 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 114 (Abettor present when offence is committed).
“We have arrested three persons. Two others are on the run. We found lack of safety measures inside the company premise which clearly shows negligence on the part of the authorities concerned who have been named in the FIR. We are still investigating their individual roles in the case,” a police official said.
As per details of the FIR filed by the police who took suo moto cognizance of the matter, none of the deceased or those injured had any safety gears on their bodies.
“In a factory where gases like oxygen and hydrogen are filled at such high pressures, no kind of safety equipment were found even inside the premise. There was no safety manager to be found in the company and even the authorities or any higher officials were unavailable. No signage or boards mentioning any safety measures were also put up,” the FIR stated.
According to the police, two persons were found severely injured close to the gate and were first rushed to the hospital, but were declared dead on arrival. Five others who were found severely injured at a distance from the gate were also rushed to the hospital immediately after. When the factory inspector inspected the company along with his team, he found burnt body parts strewn around. The police along with the fire officials then recovered three bodies from the site of the explosion. The deceased were identified as Ashok Himmat Padiyar, Gulabsinh Parmar, Mafat Parmar, Fatehsinh Chauhan, Mangal Padiyar and Sanjay Vaghre.
The incident that had occurred at around 11 am on Sunday with a loud explosion inside the oxygen gas plant of the company had caused cracks in the window panes of several houses in the village. While the exact cause of the blast is yet to be ascertained, police had said that prima facie the blast had taken place after a fire in the company.
According to the police, the preliminary probe had revealed that a fire had engulfed the nitrogen and hydrogen cylinders inside the plant and had eventually spread to the oxygen plant where the flames came into contact with the oxygen and resulted in a huge explosion.