4 arrested over blasts near Mumbai, toll rises to 4
Pharma unit in which blasts took place had not conducted safety audit since 2005Updated: Mar 13, 2018 19:17 IST
The Boisar MIDC police on Tuesday arrested four persons belonging to a chemical unit, including its director, in connection with the blasts that occurred in Boisar MIDC on March 8.
The arrested accused were identified as Saral Dinesh Shah, director of Novaphene Specialities Limited , Hemraj Paraatne, manager, Gyandeep Mhatre, chemist and Raju Raote, worker. They were booked under Sections 304 (a)(causing death by negligence), 285,286,287 (negligence), 427 (mischief) of the Indian Penal Code. After being produced before the Palghar court, all the four accused were released on personal bond and cash surety of Rs15,000 each, said Avtaru Gupta, counsel for the four accused.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the blasts at Novaphene Specialities Limited, in which six adjoining units were completely destroyed, reached four on Monday night.
Nackched Singh, 62, who worked as a watchman for Prachi Industries — a neighbouring unit of Novephene Specialities — died at a Surat hospital. Meanwhile, the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) has said Novaphene Specialities Limited had not conducted a safety audit since 2015.
Sudhakar Rathod, acting director, DISH, said no safety audit was conducted by a government-approved auditor since 2015 and called this a “serious case”. “My subordinate H Dhawad, joint director (Safety) DISH has submitted his report to me and this damning lacuna has been observed,” said Rathod. “In fact, on Tuesday we have registered an offence against Dinesh Shah, director of Novaphene Specialities as he is the occupier of the plant, under the Factories Act against Novaphene Specialities before the chief judicial magistrate, Thane.”
Furthermore, Novaphene Specialities did not appoint any qualified supervisor or chemical engineer, which is required during any chemical process in a hazardous unit, Rathod said. An unqualified worker was given the task to conduct the process and the worker increased the steam pressure in the glass-lined reactor containing the hazardous solvent. As the chemicals inside the reactor started to boil rapidly, it resulted in the continuous blasts, said Rathod. The company did not take necessary permission from DISH to manufacture any intermediate chemical inside its premises,he said.
The fourth victim, Singh, was first admitted in a comatose condition in a Mira Road private hospital, and later shifted to a Surat hospital. The other three victims are Pintu Kumar Gautam, Janu Adaria, and Alok Nath (all contract workers of the neighbouring Arti Drugs, which also got destroyed in the blasts).