THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The fireworks at Paravur Puttingal Devi temple that claimed over 100 lives were carried out without any permission, even for a small-scale show. The local police and revenue authorities remained mute spectators to the blatant violation allegedly due to political pressure.
It has also come to light that the temple authorities had spread a false propaganda that they had got permission to carry out normal fireworks and even announcements in this regard were made. The local police and revenue officials failed to act even as they were aware that no permission was granted to any sorts of pyrotechnic competition.
Though the temple authorities had sought fresh permission for normal firework with 15 kilogram gun powder and the local police recommended that it may be allowed, no permission was granted. The temple authorities also carried out competitive fireworks worth over Rs 10 lakh. Illegal use of potassium chlorate that produced intense sound was even suspected by the investigation agencies, it is learnt.
According to police sources, the additional district magistrate had denied permission for pyrotechnics after being convinced of the grievances raised by local resident A. Pankajakshi. The letter denying permission, however, suggested that permission could be granted only to low-scale normal fireworks.
Based on that, the temple authorities submitted the fresh application for using 15 kilogram gun powder to the district police. The local police, Chathanoor assistant commissioner M.S. Santosh and city police commissioner P. Prakash recommended that it could be allowed.
Though the matter came up before the Kollam district collector A. Shainamol on April 9, no decision was taken on that. Meanwhile, a team from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) would come down to the mishap spot on Tuesday to defuse huge quantities of unused explosives that were recovered. Explosives were also recovered from two cars found abandoned near the spot on Tuesday.
The Crime Branch team led by ADGP S. Ananthakrishnan was trying to trace the temple authorities, who were reported missing since Sunday. The team was also awaiting the reports from PESO on the quantum and type of explosives used.
The lapses on the part of officials in preventing the unauthorised cracker works would also be probed. Five employees of firework contractors Kazhakoottam Surendran and Varkala Krishnankutty, who are in custody, are being quizzed....