Filing its chargesheet in the Bawana fire case before a Delhi court on Wednesday, the Delhi Police Crime Branch said the main accused were running two illegal units — manufacturing POP-POP crackers and Holi Gulal crackers — in the same area. Police said the accused, Manoj Jain and Lalit Goyal, ran the gulal cracker unit from F-83, and the other from O-6. The fire, which broke out on January 20 in F-83, left 17 workers dead.
Police said the accused had two other business partners, Surjeet Goyal and Girish Rathore, who looked after O-6. Both were arrested on Tuesday and booked under sections 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Explosives Act. Police also said that they recovered about 1,000 kg of POP-POP crackers from the unit, which were to be delivered to Jahangirpuri for export.
Besides the four men, police said three more people — Sangeeta Vijay Yadav, who supplied chemicals and ethanol for manufacturing of POP-POP crackers; Uma Mittal, owner of F-83; and Brij Bhushan Sood, onwer of O-6 — have been named in the chargesheet.
While Jain and Lalit Goyal have been in judicial custody since January 31, Surjeet Goyal and Rathore were granted bail. The other three have not been arrested, police said. Police have named 84 witnesses in the chargesheet and submitted call detail records of all accused, saying, “It is apparent that all the accused persons were in touch with each other”. During investigation, police found that the two units were often inspected by the four accused. Some of the labourers worked at both places.
When the fire broke out in F-83, police said as many as 40 labourers were working inside the building at the time. “There is sufficient material against the accused under various offences to be summoned by the court,” the chargesheet said. Police, while referring to the statements of witnesses, including labourers who worked in the factory, claimed that Jain and Lalit Goyal manufactured Holi gulal fire crackers using explosive material and did not “follow safety norms”.
The chargesheet also said that 511 cartons of crackers were on the ground floor, while some finished crackers were kept along with 10 packing machines on the ground floor and first floor. “Crackers were scattered on all floors and burst on pressure when the fire broke out,” police said. Police added that as per the post-mortem report, all 17 victims died due to a combined effect of asphyxia and shock consequent to burn injuries. Sources said a supplementary chargesheet may be filed in due course, as a no-objection certificate from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to destroy crackers stored in another factory is awaited, along with forensic reports.