Batala firecracker factory owners booked for culpable homicide
A day after at least 23 persons were killed in a blast in an illegal firecracker unit at Batala, police on Thursday registered an FIR against the factory owner’s sons on the charges of culpable homicide without naming anyone.
Jaspal Singh Mattu, who is referred to as the factory owner, died nearly six months ago.
The case was registered under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 427 (mischief causing damage to amount of ₹50) and Sections 3, 4, and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act on the complaint filed by Civil Lines station house officer (SHO) Mukhtiar Singh.
Even 24 hours after the massive explosion in the unit, the police failed to clarify as who was killed in the Mattu family in the incident. Also, they refused to reply as how an illegal factory was being run from a two-storey building in densely populated area for years.
Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Jagdish Sahni said the FIR is nothing but an eyewash as the police did not name a single person in it. “It is an irony that the police failed to identify the dead from the owners’ family. The departments concerned and their officials should have been named in it as they are ones who let this illegal business go on for long,” Sahni said.
A forensic department team also visited the site and took samples from the debris. The team is learnt to have recovered some steel shells and some other suspicious material from the spot.
RESIDENTS HOLD PROTEST AGAINST ADMN, BLOCK TRAFFIC
Hundreds of residents of Guru Ram Das Colony in the town held a massive protest outside the Purrian cremation ground on Jalandhar road, raising slogans against the district administration.
The protesters claimed that despite numerous complaints lodged by them to the Batala sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and the local police against this illegal factory, the officials turned a blind eye to their repeated complaints.
After the protesters blocked traffic on Jalandhar road, deputy commissioner Vipul Ujwal, who was present in the civil hospital, reached there to pacify them.
Ashish Pal Singh Sandhu, who lost his wife and seven-year-old son in the blast, asked the DC as what action was taken against the culprits.
“I had filed a complaint to the local SDM, but no action was taken. Had the officials acted, I would not have lost my wife and son. Officials are just playing to the tune of their political masters,” he said.
“Mattu (Jaspal), who was well connected with those in the state’s ruling party even threatened us with dire consequences if we lodged any complaint against his illegal factory,” Sandhu alleged.
Gullu Mattu, son of late Jaspal Singh Mattu, had contested the municipal committee (MC) elections in 2015 on Congress ticket and wielded considerable influence among officials, it is learnt.
DC Ujwal said he was not aware of the complaints submitted to the SDM.
“I have marked an inquiry into the whole matter. I with supervise the probe and will take a strict action against all those responsible behind the mishap,” he said.