24,000 kg of banned firecrackers, raw materials seized from outer Delhi; factory owner held
The seized firecrackers were meant for supply and sale in Haryana’s Sonepat and adjoining districts during this Diwali, police said.Updated: Oct 17, 2019 06:10 IST
Around 24,000 kilograms of banned firecrackers and raw material worth around Rs 50 lakh were seized from a toy-manufacturing factory and a warehouse in the Narela and Bhorgarh industrial areas of outer Delhi just days ahead of Diwali, police said on Tuesday.
The 58-year-old factory owner and the driver of a tempo used to transport the banned firecrackers from the unit to the godown were arrested for their alleged involvement in the illegal business despite a blanket ban on the manufacture and sale of conventional firecrackers by the Supreme Court.
The seized firecrackers were meant for supply and sale in Haryana’s Sonepat and adjoining districts during this Diwali, police said.
In January last year, 17 workers, including 10 women, were charred to death and two others were injured n a fire that broke out at a firecracker unit in outer Delhi’s Bawana industrial area. It was one of the Capital’s deadliest industrial tragedies since 57 people were killed in a fire in the Lal Kuan chemical market complex in May 1999.
Monday’s seizure was from a factory and a warehouse located in Narela and Bhorgarh, both designated industrial areas developed by the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (DSIIDC).
A senior DSIIDC official said, “So far we are not aware of the crackdown and will have to examine the issue. However, both the licensing of such units as well as regulation and monitoring is not under our jurisdiction.”
According to deputy commissioner of police (Outer North) Gaurav Sharma, the seizure was made on Monday evening when a police patrol stopped a tempo for checking.
The driver, Deepak,30, who goes by a single name, tried to run away but was caught and banned firecrackers, packed in 45 cartons and concealed in plastic bags, were seized.
Deepak’s interrogation led police to a factory and a godown where the crackers were manufactured and stored. The factory owner, Raj Kumar Goyal, was caught from the factory, which was sealed.
“Another 624 cartons of firecrackers, packing material, 10 machines manufacturing firecrackers and tons of raw material worth more than Rs 50 lakh have been seized,” Sharma said.
On Tuesday, a video clip surfaced on social media allegedly showing Goyal being offered dry fruits by a man in the presence of a policeman during the raid. The video purportedly shows the policeman accepting the packet of the dry fruits from the man wearing black T-shirt and taking it to a parked car. It was alleged the man offering dry fruits to Goyal was a policeman.
DCP Sharma, however, refuted the allegations and said the man in question was associated with Goyal and not a policeman.
“Goyal is a diabetic and his blood sugar level came down because of shock during the raid. His associate seen in the video offered him dry fruits from his car to control his blood sugar level. The policeman seen in the video was not the one who offered dry fruits to Goyal. He was just facilitating Goyal after he complained of uneasiness and low blood sugar. We admitted Goyal to a government hospital,” Sharma said.
During interrogation, the DCP said, the factory owner told them he was discretely manufacturing banned firecrackers for this Diwali. “As manufacturing of illegal firecrackers and its sale had become a high-profit business because of the Supreme Court ban, Goyal was aiming to make quick money through it,” Sharma said.
Police said Goyal had started illegal manufacture of firecrackers in the basement of his three-storey factory, which is primarily used for making toys.
The tempo driver told the police Goyal had instructed him to abandon the vehicle and flee if intercepted by police.
“Goyal is being interrogated to find the source of raw material. We will bust the entire network of suppliers and receivers of the banned crackers. More arrests will be made,” the DCP added.