A day after five men died inside a sewage treatment plant (STP) at DLF Capital Greens society in Moti Nagar, police have arrested the plant in-charge, who was employed by a private firm, JLL. Police said JLL handed out contracts for maintenance of the residential complex to two firms — Unnati (sewage cleaning) and Crest (housekeeping). According to the FIR, four of the dead men were employed by Unnati, and the other by the second firm.
DCP (west) Monika Bhardwaj said police have sent notices to the other companies to provide the contract documents. Police sources said they have identified multiple persons who had asked the men to enter the tank, as well as the owner of Unnati. A search is on to find them, sources said.
Police sources said the accused, Ajay Chaudhary (32), had allegedly advised the supervisors of other two companies to make the workers clean the tank. “We are trying to establish his presence at the spot, and why the workers were not equipped with safety gear,” said a police officer.
On Monday, police added IPC Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) to the FIR. Among the IPC sections invoked is 304A (causing death by negligence), and section 3 (1)(j) of The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The incident took place on Sunday between 4.30 pm-5 pm at Tower P basement, when Vishal, Sarfaraz, Pankaj, Raja and Umesh were cleaning the tank. Police said Raja was a relative of the owner of Unnati.
According to the FIR, when the police team reached the spot, fire department officials were pulling out the men. Police sources said there were no stairs inside the tank. Both companies did not provide safety gear, added the FIR.
A JLL spokesperson said, “We are working closely with the companies that employed the men to understand the events that led to this incident, and provide all assistance through them to families… We have offered our cooperation to authorities and government agencies… We are carrying out our own internal investigation too. Given that the incident is still being investigated, it would not be appropriate for us to speculate…”
On Sunday, a DLF spokesperson had said, “The services at the said complex is managed by JLL, one the largest facility management companies.”
NHRC notice to Delhi govt, police
Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports on the deaths of five men while cleaning a sewer tank, NHRC has sent a notice to Delhi government and Delhi Police asking for a report. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan demanded a law to ban manual scavenging.