The seven technocrats, including three Chinese engineers, who were arrested after the collapse of a Balco power plant chimney in Chhattisgarh’s Korba last year, are yet to be sent to jail despite court orders.
Soon after a local court sent four Indians — arrested in October and November last year — and the Chinese engineers of Sepco to judicial custody, they complained of abrupt illness and started living in the Korba district hospital instead.
They refused to get well even after the court denied them bail.
The chimney of the Balco plant collapsed in September last year, killing 45 workers.
The Balco’s confidence on the seven techies remains unshaken. “They are competent officers and had accomplished other major projects,” Balco spokesperson B.K. Srivastava told HT.
Korba chief medical officer Dr P.R. Kumbhakar, who is looking after the seven, told HT: “The health checkup and other examinations have confirmed none of the seven are suffering from serious illness. They just don’t want to stay in jail.”
Kumbhakar said there was tremendous pressure on the hospital to keep the inmates in their favourite wards. “Despite that, I had shifted them to the general ward...” he said.
Human rights activist Pravin Patel, who visited the families of 30 workers killed in the mishap, said, “That the seven officers managed to get the best comforts in hospital, despite having been sent to jail custody, shows how the system works.”
Police are also raising questions. Korba SP Ratanlal Dangi said, “Does this mean Balco availed the services of only those who were in poor health?”