Two of the five men who fell into a sewage treatment plant (STP) at the Vivanta by Taj — Ambassador hotel at Khan Market after inhaling toxic fumes, died on Tuesday. While Ravinder Kumar (40) was a contractual maintenance staffer who worked as the STP operator, Vikram (26) was posted as a security guard outside the plant.
Police are now on the lookout for the director of Ecopollutech Engineers, Mandal — the company tasked with maintenance of the STP. Police said Mandal, however, is absconding. “We had asked the director of the STP to join us for questioning. He did not turn up and is absconding. Our teams have been deputed to look for him,” said DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma.
Kumar, who was the first one to enter the STP, was employed by the firm, while Vikram was employed by Securitas — a security services group.
A spokesperson of Vivanta by Taj — Ambassador said, “Ecopollutech Engineers had been given the contract to maintain the plant, and the hotel was not involved in the everyday affairs.” Calls to company seeking a comment on the allegations went unanswered.
On Sunday, Additional Division Officer, Delhi Fire Services, Ved Pal, had said he did not see any of the victims wearing safety gear barring “two-three gloves”. The FIR in the case has also mentioned the same. It states that “the people responsible for the daily affairs of the STP knew that safety precautions had to be taken. Despite the knowledge, (they) allowed workers to enter the plant without any safety gear. They (authorities) knew that through this action people could have lost their lives”.
Police had initially registered the case under IPC Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide). Following the death of the two men, it has been replaced with IPC 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
Police also tried to get a statement from one of the victims, Kamdev Patra. He however, was declared unfit by doctors.
On Monday, police had said they were uncertain as to how the men ended up in the plant. The hotel spokesperson had also said he was not aware of the sequence of events.
However, it has now been established that Ravinder, the STP operator had been called to fix a leak in the plant. However, he fainted inside. One of the men, Nityanand, informed Kamdev and the head of department.
“Nityanand entered the plant and was knocked out by the gas. Kamdev went to check on them, followed by Vikram. Both met the same fate. Gaurav, the deputy chief engineer, shut down the electric supply, thinking that it was a case of electrocution. He entered the plant and fell unconscious as well,” a police officer said.