Two Koreans among 12 arrested in LG Polymers gas leakage case, 3 officers suspended
The police in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam district on Tuesday arrested 12 persons including the chief executive officer and two directors of LG Polymers Ltd, and suspended three officials for negligence, exactly two months after a gas leak from the company’s plant at R R Venkatapuram village on the outskirts of the city resulted in the death of 15 people and hospitalisation of over 500 others.
Visakhapatnam police commissioner R K Meena said company’s managing director and CEO Sunkey Jeong, technical director D S Kim (both South Korean nationals), additional director (operations) Pitchuka Poorna Chandra Mohan Rao, head of the department and shift in-charge Kodi Srinivas Kiran Kumar, team leader (production) Raju Satyanarayana were among those who were arrested.
“The Gopalapatnam police under whose limits the chemical plant is located had booked criminal cases under various sections of Indian Penal Code on the same evening of May 7, when the gas leakage mishap took place,” the commissioner said.
Interestingly, the arrests were made a day after the experts committee appointed by the Andhra Pradesh government submitted its report to chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy blaming the LG Polymers management for its negligence which led to the accident.
The first information report (FIR) filed by the police said at around 3 am on May 7, liquid Styrene rapidly vaporized due to the sudden rise in temperature in the M-6 storage tank at LG Polymers because of a polymerization reaction. The gaseous vapour leaked through the vents of the tank and spread across the nearby residential areas following downwind direction.
“This affected the adjoining six colonies/villages of Venkatapuram, Venkatadri Nagar, Padmanabhapuram, SC & BC Colony, Nandamuri Nagar, RR Venkatapuram. As many as 12 villagers died on May 7 and 8. Subsequently, another three villagers died. About 34 animals also lost their lives in the incident,” the police said.
The arrests were made by assistant commissioner of police R V S N Murthy and his team members under the supervision of police commissioner R K Meena, deputy commissioner of police Aishwarya Rastogi and DCP (crimes) D Suresh Babu.
“All the accused are being produced before the court for judicial remand. Case is under investigation as reports from various departments have to be received and examination of witnesses has to be done,” the commissioner said.
Meanwhile, the state government suspended deputy chief inspector of factories KBS Prasad for alleged negligence in inspecting the LG Polymers plant for any potential hazards in its design. Besides, Visakhapatnam zonal environmental engineer R Lakshmi Narayana and regional environmental engineer P Prasad Rao were also suspended for allowing operation of LG Polymers plant without environmental clearance and the import and storage of huge quantities of styrene without verifying safety and environmental issues.