Court pulls up J&K cops for tardy probe into tunnel fire

Eight supervisors, helpers and electricians of BCC were arrested on November 30 and charged with negligence and dereliction of duty that led to death of the labourers.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Published:December 10, 2016 3:16 am

A local court has pulled up the Jammu and Kashmir police for tardy investigations and shielding those responsible for the fire that burnt 10 labourers to death at the Chenani-Nashri tunnel construction site in January.

Eight supervisors, helpers and electricians of Beigh Construction Company (BCC), which is building the tunnel, were arrested on November 30 and charged with negligence and dereliction of duty that led to death of the labourers.

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“(The) court does not find any concrete steps taken by the IO (Investigating Officer Inspector Daljeet Singh) after passing of its order dated December 3 and that he has maintained status quo in the investigations,’’ Ramban’s Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Yahaya Firdoos Ahangar said during hearing of the bail application of the accused Thursday. The court had granted them interim bail on December 3. “The case diaries reveal that (the) IO has received all the opinion from forensic laboratory and he has also recorded statement of witnesses under section 161 of Criminal Procedure Code, but the court could not understand as to why there is delay for presenting the final chargesheet,’’ the CJM observed. He lambasted the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted to investigate the matter, saying that the court had observed that the “occurrence has occurred almost an year ago and the victims are yet to get the justice and the defaulters are yet to be booked’’.

The CJM hoped that the SIT would produce a chargesheet soon as the court does not find anything more to be probed. He added that the the IO had admitted the same except that the statement of one injured witness was to be recorded. The court referred to the IO’s statement that the accused were not required for interrogation and granted bail to the eight. The matter would come up for hearing again on December 29 when the court would examine case diaries to know the progress of the probe.

India’s longest — 9.2 km long — Chenani-Nashri tunnel is in final stages of construction and will reduce distance between Chenani to Nashri on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway by 31 km. Leighton India had initially undertaken the excavation for the tunnel before BCC took over the project. The labourers were killed in the fire at the construction site when they were asleep after late night new year celebrations. Short circuit was blamed for the fire.

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