Kollam temple fire: Cops, revenue staff continue in their post

Eyebrows raised over probe as officials not suspended.

THIRUVANANTHAPRUAM: More than 48 hours after the terrible fire tragedy at Puttingal temple that killed 112 people and injured over 380, the police officers and revenue officials who had allegedly given permission for fireworks continue to remain in their posts.

The government decision to probe the matter without shifting out these officials has raised several eyebrows. Many believe that their presence in their respective posts could adversely affect the probe. There are also allegations that some of temple committee members are related to a section of local police officials.

District Collector A. Shainamol had categorically stated on Monday that Kollam police commissioner P. Prakash had given permission for fireworks on the basis of report from Assistant Commissioner of Police. The ACP M.S. Santosh had given a report that permission could be given for conducting the show as per the rituals of the temple.

While the collector had served showcause notices to them, the police officers had not responded yet. The Kollam police commissioner even acknowledged before the media that the temple authorities had told him that they had secured “oral” permission from the district administration.

Sources said the Collector’s account and the district police chief’s admission were enough for initiating disciplinary action against the officials. Many find the explanation of the district police chief rather naive. Demands are being raised from various quarters for the disciplinary action including suspension or shifting of these officials.

Even though the collector had denied permission and taken a firm stand, they believe her presence in Kollam could also affect the probe. In order to ensure a free and fair probe, all these officials need to be shifted out at the earliest. There are many instances earlier when action was initiated against such officials.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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