Updated: February 26, 2021 8:11:26 am
The Karnataka police arrested five people in connection with the quarry blast in Chikkaballapura that killed six people. The government has also suspended two police officials.
Among those arrested include Raghavendra Reddy, one of the two partners of the quarry, who was arrested from Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. Others arrested in the case are employees linked to the quarry. Meanwhile, GS Nagaraj, the second partner, is still on the run from police.
Gudibande police station circle inspector Manjunath and sub-inspector Gopal Reddy were suspended on charges of dereliction of duty, senior police officials said.
Six people were killed when gelatin sticks being transported in a mini truck accidentally exploded at a stone quarry site on Tuesday.
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In a similar incident in January, six people were killed after a massive explosion that took place near a gravel and boulder crushing facility in Shivamogga district.
Politicising the blast is unfair: Minister
The government has no intention to protect the culprits in the Chikkaballapur blast incident, said Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar, who is also in charge of the district. “Several suspects have been arrested in this case including the owners of the company and a CID investigation has been ordered,” he added.
“The circle inspector and sub-inspector have already been suspended. Mining minister has also assured action against officials in the mining department,” said the Minister.
“Despite these, some people are trying to give it political colour and indulging in character assassination,” said Dr Sudhakar condemning the statements of Congress leaders.
Earlier, Congress leaders including Opposition party leader Siddaramaiah and Karnataka congress president DK Shivakumar had criticized the state government for not acting against illegal quarries operating in the state.
“After the Shivamogga incident, I held three meetings with District Administration and instructed the officials to check illegal mining activities, supply, storage and usage of explosives through regular inspections at mining sites.
As per the instructions, the officials were regularly visiting mining sites for inspection. A few days ago, police had raided the Bharamaravarshini Crusher in Chikkaballapur in which the incident had happened. Although it is legal mining activity, the storage and usage of explosives were in violation of rules. So the officials had filed a case and ordered to suspend the activities,” Sudhakar explained.
“A few days later, officials again visited the site for inspection, and fearing further action, the owners had instructed the workers to shift the explosives to a remote place. The unfortunate incident took place when the explosives were being shifted,” he added.
According to Sudhakar, the police, in their preliminary investigation, came to know that the explosives were stored in a place about 1,500 metres away from the quarry. “After the raid, the owners had instructed the workers to dispose them in the nearby forest. As per the statement of the driver who had survived this blast and experts who inspected the spot, the workers had lit a campfire and disposed of the explosives nearby which has led to this incident,” he said.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has instructed the district administration to give a compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the families of the deceased and the state government orders a CID investigation.
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