Seven office-bearers of the Puttingal Devi Temple Trust were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the fireworks tragedy, which has claimed 113 lives so far. ADGP (Crimes) S Ananthakrishnan said the accused were charged with murder.
“The temple trust had applied for permission to conduct competitive fireworks, and involved two contractors for the same. They sourced a huge stock of items for the competitive pyrotechnics. The district collector had denied sanction for the show. However, they still went ahead with a competitive display,” said the ADGP, based on the statements of the arrested members.
Watch: Video Of Temple Fire In Kollam, Kerala (Click here)
Temple trust president Jayalal, secretary J Krishnankutty and members Shivaprasad, Surendran Pillai, Ravindran Pillai surrendered before the Crime Branch early Tuesday.
Two other managing committee members — Surendranathan Pillai and Murugesan — were picked up by the police in Kollam.
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Ananthakrishnan said that after the district collector denied sanction for competitive fireworks, the temple committee placed another petition seeking permission for fireworks display which would not be of competitive nature. “We have not come across anything to confirm that the committee got a verbal order to conduct the show,” he added.
In their remand report, the police said that the committee members misled the public by announcing that the government had given sanction for the fireworks.
The report also said that the members had misled the police by claiming that they had got the mandatory permission and the order would reach the temple soon.
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Meanwhile, the death toll in the tragedy went up to 113 with four persons, including the contractor of the fireworks show — Kazhakkuttam Surendran — succumbing to injuries on Tuesday.
The condition of 25 other patients was reported to be very serious, as they had sustained more than 70 per cent burns apart from fractures.
Police said some of the victims had lung damage after inhaling smoke that had engulfed the temple premises. Thirteen bodies are yet to be identified. The police have also received 21 missing persons complaints.