Sunday October 24, 2021

Korangi factory owner, manager arrested

September 08, 2021
Korangi factory owner, manager arrested

Police on Tuesday arrested the owner as well as the manager of the factory located in Korangi’s Mehran Town that was gutted by fire and had resulted in the deaths of over a dozen workers last month.

The owner of the building in which the factory was running tried to flee after a sessions court dismissed the bail applications of the three suspects. However, he was later arrested as well. Sixteen workers were killed on August 27 as a fire had swept through the two-storey BM Luggage Industry, which had been running in a residential neighbourhood, because of the alleged lack of fire safety arrangements and emergency exits.

The father of one of the young victims of the deadly inferno also died of a heart attack after seeing the body of his son at the hospital. Following the incident, police had booked building owner Faisal Tariq, his tenant and factory owner Hasan Mitha, his manager Imran Zaidi, supervisors Zafar and Rehan, and watchman Zarin for manslaughter.

On Tuesday the district & sessions judge of the East district pronounced his verdict on the interim bail of Tariq, Mitha and Zaidi after hearing arguments from the defence and the prosecution.

The judge rejected the applications of the suspects, observing that prima facie there were sufficient evidences available with the prosecution against them, so they could not be released on bail.

Previously, the court had granted them interim pre-arrest bail against a surety of Rs500,000 each, and subjected its confirmation to the conclusion of the arguments submitted by all parties.

Prosecutor Amir Ibrahim had opposed the interim bail, contending that the suspects were illegally running the factory in a residential area, and had neglected the workplace safety measures that had resulted in the loss of the workers’ lives. On behalf of Tariq, Advocate Haseeb Jamali had argued that his client had no connection to the case, except that he had rented out the space to Mitha, who actually was the owner of the factory. Jamali said that his client could not be held responsible for the act.

On behalf of Mitha, Advocate Hassan Sabir had argued that the factory was running on a power generator due to an electricity outage, and as soon as the supply from K-Electric was restored, it caused a short circuit. He blamed the civic authorities for failing to contain the fire.

After the pronouncement of the verdict, the suspects stayed in the courtroom for over an hour, following which the police arrested Mitha and Zaidi, while Tariq attempted to escape from the court premises, but he was later arrested.

According to the FIR, the deaths took place on the upper portion of the building that allegedly lacked an emergency exit. The factory building was constructed in a manner that no one could exit in case of an emergency, while no emergency alarm system was installed as well. The FIR was registered under sections 322 (manslaughter) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

“The arrested suspects had obtained pre-arrest bail on August 31,” confirmed Korangi Investigation-III SSP Muhammad Zubair. “The hearing on the confirmation of bail was held in the honourable court of DJ East on Tuesday.”

The officer said: “The honourable court was please to cancel the bail of the suspects, following which the accused tried to escape. The investigation staff took prompt action and arrested them outside the premises of the court.” Police said that some 26 labourers had been inside when the fire erupted, while 16 of them were trapped inside the factory because the gates of the unit were locked. Three brothers were also among the victims.