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Sivakasi fire: 12 arrested, hunt on for owner

At least 12 people were arrested today, a day after a fire at Sivakasi firecracker unit charred 38 people to death. The owner of the firm, Om Shakti factory, is still at large, police said.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2012 17:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

At least 12 people were arrested on Thursday, a day after a fire at Sivakasi firecracker unit charred 38 people to death. The owner of the firm, Om Shakti factory, is still at large, police said.

Police teams have been sent to nab the owner, known as Murugesan, who has been absconding since Wednesday and police officials were confident that he would be nabbed soon.

Paul Pandi, who had taken the factory on lease and was running it, was among the 12 people arrested, said Virudanagar SP Najmal Huda.

He reiterated that the factory was being run illegally after its license was suspended for several violations, including those of safety norms.

Huda added that the factory not only employed more people than it should have but also expanded its capacities to meet Diwali rush.

The suspension orders were given two months ago, sources in the offices of controller of explosives said. But the revenue department was not informed and the factory continued to function due to the miscommunication, a revenue department official said.

The licenses to the factory were valid for another two years.

Though the exact reason for the accident would be known only after a thorough investigation, early leads point to the fact that wrong mixing of chemicals by untrained persons could have led to the initial sparks that resulted in the fire and explosions, a police inspector on the spot said.

CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury who visited the spot demanded a high level inquiry into the incident and also to ascertain why accidents continued to occur in this industry. He also demanded adequate compensation to the victims.

First Published: Sep 06, 2012 17:42 IST