Puttingal temple blast probe in a fix

The judicial probe was announced in an emergency meeting at the Kollam guest house on April 10.

KOLLAM: The judicial probe ordered into the Puttingal tragedy of April 10 is set to end up as a damp squib with none bothered to help it reach a logical conclusion. The government has accepted the resignation of retired Justice N. Krishnan Nair as commission after it failed to provide him enough facilities to start the inquiry though the deadline given to the commission expired in November.

The judicial probe was announced by the then chief minister Oommen Chandy at an emergency ministerial meeting held at the Kollam guest house on the day of the tragedy that claimed 110 lives and injured over 700 persons. Justice N. Krishnan Nair was appointed as the commission on April 21 and he took charge on May 2. So far, he could not conduct any inquiry.

The commission submitted his resignation letter to Ms Nalini Netto, additional chief secretary, home affairs, on October 21. The commission allegedly lacked office space, funds, vehicle and sufficient employees though the government was told about the situation, it is alleged. The commission’s demand to extend the deadline to another six months was not considered though the home department had supported the demand. A Central team under joint chief controller of explosives Dr A.K. Yadav has already submitted a report to the central industries and commerce ministry. An inquiry by the Crime Branch police is confined to the temple authorities and those connected with providing explosives for the fireworks.

Over 40 persons, including migrant workers in cracker units, were also included in the accused list of the Crime Branch. The accident took place even as the Additional District Magistrate had ordered to prevent the competitive fireworks. The district administration had banned the fireworks based on several reports from various government organisations. The High Court granted bail to all the 43 accused after three months of the disaster. However, the real culprits behind the tragedy have not been booked owing to the non-functioning of the judicial commission.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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