Pune fire: Director of SVS Aqua Tech remanded to police custody
The director of SVS Aqua Tech, Nikunj Shah (39), has been remanded to custody of the Pune rural police on Wednesday by a local court.
Shah is charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, after 17 SVS Aqua Tech workers perished in a fire on the company premises on Monday.
The Pune rural police have also booked Nikunj Shah’s Dubai-based brother and partner in the company, Keyur Vipin Shah (41), and their father Bipin Jayantilal Shah (68), a resident of Sahakarnagar.
The remand was issued by judicial magistrate first class (JMFC), Saatishkumar Ganapa.
On Tuesday, a committee headed by sub-divisional magistrate Sandesh Shirke, found that the company was producing sanitisers without a permit.
The incident also left four injured. The injured have been identified as Nisha Ramesh Gorwal, Pravin PRabhakar Kavankar (24), Sanotsh Sitaram Sahthe (45), and Adinath Mahipati Sathe (23).
“Prima facie, that company did not have the permit to produce sanitiser at all, as per the report submitted by the district committee yesterday (Tuesday). Even with the machine that they were using (without permit), they were producing much more than its capacity,” said public prosecutor Nilesh Ladkat.
Maharashtra home minister Dilip Walse-Patil, during his visit to the company on Tuesday, had said that the fire was product-related and not due to a short-circuit.
The police have also alleged that the company ignored industrial safety measures for its workers, which led to storage of large quantities of raw materials used to manufacture sanitisers in the room where the fire broke out.
The police have also alleged, based on the committee’s report, that the company operated illegally between 2016 and 2020.
As per the police submission to the court, the investigation will now check the company’s product list against permits, to see if it all tallies.
A case under Sections 304(2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder); 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter); 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance); and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at Paud police station against the three.
Victims’ families not handed over bodies yet
The families of those who died in the fire incident are waiting to receive the mortal remains of their dear departed. The charring caused by the fire had made it difficult for doctors to identify even the genders of the deceased, let alone the identities.
“I know she is in there, but I cannot get her body until the police say so. My elder son (13) gave blood yesterday around 5:30pm. We were told to wait until Thursday for an update on when we could get the bodies,” said Sachin Borade, who lost his wife Seema Borade in the accident.
The bodies were rushed to Sassoon General Hosptial on Monday night. The families now expect to get the remains on Thursday or Friday.