The Godda police have added non-bailable sections in the FIR registered in connection with the mine collapse that took place in Lal Matia coal mine in Godda district, Jharkhand on December 29, last year, killing 23 people. Earlier, the police had registered a case causing death due to negligence, which is a bailable offence. The FIR was registered against unidentified officials of the Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), besides the officials of the private company that was carrying out the mining work. No arrests were made in the case.
WATCH WHAT ELSE IS IN THE NEWS
Following investigations, the investigating officer (IO) of the case moved the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) on Thursday seeking addition of certain sections. “While earlier the FIR was registered under Section 304-A (causing death due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, it has now been converted into Section 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder),” said a police officer, associated with the case.
The police have added Sections 467 (forgery of documents), 468 (forgery of cheating) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine) of the IPC. “These sections have been added after the court accepted out request,” said the officer.
“The sections have been added as the police have come across evidence that suggested that the ECL officials were aware that there was a problem of sliding, but still allowed the work to continue due to vested interests,” said a source.
Contacted, Godda Superintendent of Police Harilal Chauhan said: “We had submitted the correction application before the court on the basis of evidence that has come across during our investigation. The court accepted our application. The new sections have been added. We are awaiting the report of the Directorate General of Mines Safety, following which more sections are likely to be added. Further probe in the case is on.”
At least 23 people had died in mining collapse that took place in the evening on December 29. While 18 bodies have been recovered, five of the bodies were yet to be recovered. However, the administration has accepted them as dead and initiated the compensation proceedings.
Soon after the accident, many labourers working on the site for the private company, Mahalaxmi Infracon, had alleged that the management had not paid heed to alarms being raised by them repeatedly that the over-burden was sliding. Some had claimed that the work was stopped briefly due to sliding, but was re-started and within a couple of hours the accident happened.