Citing a Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) letter that puts the responsibility for monitoring of explosives storage and transport on the district and local police administration, an RTI activist on Friday demanded registration of criminal case against Jhabua collector and superintendent of police (SP) for negligence leading to blast that killed 90 persons on September 12.
The blast had occurred in explosives that were illegally stored along with fertilisers in a house in Petlawad killing 90 and injuring over 100 persons.
In a letter, written as a reply to the secretary of state home department, the Nagpur-based chief controller of explosives of PESO has said that the responsibility of inspecting the explosive storehouses and reporting any violations to the PESO office rested with the office of district magistrate (collector) and the local police officials.
Also the collector had the power to cancel the no-objection certificate issued for explosives storage that leads to automatic cancellation of explosives license granted by the PESO.
Activist Ajay Dubey, who obtained the PESO communication using Right to Information (RTI) application, said in a press conference on Friday that the PESO letter makes it apparently clear that the Jhabua district collector and superintendent of police had failed in their duties and thus criminal case should be registered against them and administrative action initiated too. He shared the RTI documents with media persons.
He also claimed that the district collector and the SP were in privy of the password of PESO website that reports activities related to explosives storage and transport in a district, in case of Jhabua the district authorities hardly used this information and monitoring source.
Dubey also showed letters to allege that the Sagar Forensic Lab of the state government had failed to test the evidences collected from the Jhabua blast site, thus keeping the further investigations pending.
Also the state government had failed to initiate action on those responsible for an earlier explosive blast in Singrauli district in July 2009 that killed 18 people. The magisterial inquiry report is yet to come in this earlier case.
He also raised question on decision of appointing a retired judge from Vidisha on the one-man judicial inquiry committee on Jhabua blast incident as the Jhabua collector also belonged to the same district.
The additional chief secretary of home department BP Singh or secretary DP Gupta could not be contacted for comments.