KOCHI: More than two years have passed since the Puttingal fireworks mishap, but the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Thiruvananthapuram, is yet to complete the examination of explosive samples collected from the scene of the tragedy. The Justice P S Gopinathan Commission, which is probing the mishap, is still waiting for the crucial report from the FSL as part of the inquiry.The commission had twice directed the FSL to complete the examination of the samples soon and file a report. Recently, the commission also wrote to the principal secretary to direct the FSL for speeding up the process.
"The report is crucial as it would validate the usage of illegal chemicals at the incident. The commission also heard from the head of the FSL, who stated that it would take more months to complete the examination. Due to the importance of the report, the commission has several times directed the FSL to complete the examination of the samples," said a commission official. The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, which conducted an inquiry into the incident, had found the use of potassium chlorate with the explosives.
It was also found that fire barrels were placed improperly, which led to the mishap. However, the forensic-level examination will be a crucial evidence for the commission as well as the Crime Branch, which is probing a related case.When 'Express' contacted the FSL, officials claimed that the examination of samples is going on. However, they refused to say when the examination will be completed. The commission, which started its sitting in 2017, has examined 172 witnesses.
It also examined 168 documents. The term of the commission, which got an extension earlier this year, will end in August. So far, the commission has conducted sittings in Kochi and Varkala.The tragic incident claimed 110 lives and left 461 injured in the wee hours of April 10, 2016. Multiple agencies conducted probes into the incident and serious safety negligence by authorities and organisers were blamed.