June 5, 2021 1:48:56 am
The Yellow Gate police investigating the mishap that led to the death of 86 people on board accommodation barge P305 and anchor handling tugboat Varaprada on Friday conducted an aerial panchnama of the spots where these vessels sank in the Arabian Sea during Cyclone Tauktae.
A senior Mumbai Police officer said the investigating officer of the case and two survivors were on board the chopper used to conduct the survey. “The entire day was spent conducting the panchnama. Two survivors helped us understand the entire chain of events. We cannot disclose their identity. To explain the entire sequence of events before a court of law, we wanted to have a better understanding of what transpired that day and a panchnama is a mandatory procedure,” said the officer requesting anonymity.
A panchmana is a spot visit or investigation conducted with the help of witnesses or panchas.
The chopper was used to survey the spot where barge P305 was stationed in ONGC’s Heera oilfield, approximately 40 nautical miles in the Arabian Sea from the Mumbai shore. From there, it moved to the areas where the barge and the tugboat finally sank.
“We understood crucial things like where exactly the incident had occurred, where P 305 and Varparada were located, from where they started drifting and where they sank,” the officer said.
Based on the statements of Rahman Shaikh, chief engineer of P305, the Yellow Gate police had on May 20 lodged an FIR under sections 304(II) (an act done with knowledge that it is likely to cause death), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code against the captain of the barge and others. Of the 86 dead, 75 were from P305. The rest were from Varaprada.
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