An FIR has been lodged against Larji hydel project authorities responsible for release of water without prior warning that led to 24 students being washed away in flash flood on Sunday. However, no one has been named in the FIR.
The FIR has been lodged by the Mandi district police under section 336 (endangering life and personal safety of others) and section 304(A) (causing death by negligence).
Mandi SP R S Negi said that the FIR has been registered on the basis of a statement made by A Aditya, Assistant Professor of VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, who was one of the faculty members accompanying the students. Aditya has informed the police that students were clicking pictures at two rocks near Thalout when they were caught unaware as the project authorities did not use a siren or any other warning signal before releasing water.
A live video, which a local had shot, shows chilling details of how the students got washed way after the water level rose all of a sudden. The students tried to struggle their way back, but failed even as some locals were seen alerting them to rush back to the bank.
Divisional Commissioner of Mandi Onkar Sharma, heading a high level inquiry into the incident, said, “I will summon this video clip and verify its authenticity to make it a piece of evidence in the probe.”
Deputy Commissioner of Mandi Divesh Kumar added, “The police have started investigations and if some names come up during the probe about purported negligence of the project dam officials, they will be booked.”
The search operation on the fourth day made little headway after ITBP personnel recovered the body of a student, Mohammad Sabir Hussain Shaikh. His grief stricken mother Aisa Begum was inconsolable while identifying the body. On Tuesday, Aisa had declared that she will die in the Beas river if she doesn’t get her son’s body. “Allah, this is your son, give him peace,” she sobbed. Shaikh’s body was later flown to Hyderabad. ITBP commandant Laxman Yadav said that his body was struck under water, 1 km below Hanogi Mata temple.
Telangana Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy said there is need for increasing manpower and use of advanced equipment like underwater cameras. “I have asked Jitendra Reddy, my party’s floor leader in Parliament, to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Our government has also sent a request to Union defence secretary,” he said.
Andhra Minister P Narayana said that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has spoken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh regarding the search operation.
Later, Deputy Commissioner Divesh Kumar, who held a review meeting with different agencies engaged in the operation, said that Navy divers were expected to join and equipment like underwater camera will also be used.