A day after five persons were killed in a cracker factory explosion at Masjidpara in Naihati of North 24 Parganas district, the owner of the firework unit was arrested on Saturday, police said.
“Noor Hossain was arrested from Amdanga area in the district and a suo motu case of unintentional murder along with other sections has been registered against him,” a senior police officer said.
After initial investigation, police claimed that the cracker factory was illegal. However, local residents claimed that crude bombs were manufactured and stockpiled inside the factory, which led to the explosion, sources said.
The deceased have been identified as Brinda Sanpui (40) of Naihati’s Harishpur, Kalpana Halder (42) from Subhaspally, Ram Besra (45) from Majherpara, Mansur Piyada (17) from Mamudpur and Abhoy Mandi (42) from Debak. All of them succumbed to severe burns. The injured have been admitted to Kalyani JNM Hospital, Barrackpore BN Bose Hospital and Barasat District Hospital.
A forensic team also visited the spot on Saturday and collected samples.
The impact of the explosion was such that the roof of the building was blown off and the sound was audible up to two kilometres. Several walls of the adjacent buildings were damaged and windowpanes shattered.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took to Twitter on Saturday to express his concern over the blast.
“Several deaths in blasts at factory at Masjidpara, Naihati has pained and shocked me. Allegations that crude bombs were being made in illegal factory warrants intense expert probe. Accountability of all in the administration needs to be fixed promptly,” read his tweet.
State Food Minister and Trinamool Congress district president Jyotipriyo Mullick, who went to the spot, said: “The Barrackpore commissionerate is probing the case. Local panchayat had no information about this illegal unit being operated here. We always sensitise the local administration that such illegal units, which pose danger to human life, have to be closed down.”
Barrackpore BJP MP Arjun Singh had visited the spot on Friday and demanded a probe by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).
“I suspect that a huge amount of explosives were stored inside the factory like Khagragarh, which triggered such a major blast. There are many such units in this area that runs under the influence of the rulling party. The blast should be investigated by NIA immediately,” Singh said.
Responding to Singh’s allegations Mullick said, “He tries to give political colour to everything”.