A DAY after three labourers were killed while cleaning septic tanks at a housing society in Thane, police on Saturday arrested the two contractors who had employed the men and two members of the housing society’s managing committee.
Senior Inspector A V Deshmukh of Kapurbawadi police station said contractors Vaibhav Patil and Jitendra Khair, as well as the secretary and chairman of Pride Presidency Luxuria housing society in Dokhali, have been arrested.
Patil (36), the CEO of Enviro Chem Engineers Pvt Ltd, a Thane-based firm for waste water treatment, and his employee Khair (32), were booked for not providing the labourers proper safety gear to carry out the hazardous work, and causing their death due to negligence.
Avinash Ambure, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V, said that the entire sequence of events leading up to the death of the three men was being probed. The arrangements made by the contractors to ensure the safety of the workers is also under investigation, he said.
“We have arrested secretary Suman Narsana (43) and chairman Harbhajan Singh Bhatia (69) of the housing society because they were the ones who had entered into a contract with the firm,” he said.
Narsana and Bhatia were booked under the Indian Penal Code and the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2016.
On Thursday, eight men were engaged for cleaning four septic tanks on the premises of the Pride Presidency Luxuria housing society from 4 pm onwards. Around midnight on Friday, however, three labourers — Amit Puhal (20), Aman Badal (21) and Ajay Bumbak (24) —who entered the final tank became unconscious after inhaling the toxic fumes inside.
They were pulled out by a fire brigade team and rushed to a hospital nearby where doctors declared them dead on arrival, police said.