KAKINADA: Two more persons were arrested in connection with the capsize of Royal Vasishta in the Godavari at Kachuluru in Devipatnam Mandal, in which more than 40 tourists were killed. Disclosing this to newsmen on Monday, Vakul Jindal, ASP of Rampachodavaram, said GVV Ramana Satya Naga Murali, president of Sir Arthur Cotton AC Boat Owners Association, and Yerramsetti Rajarao of Papi Kondalu Boat Owners and Agents Welfare Association were arrested for allowing operation of Royal Vasishta in the Godavari despite floods.
Royal Vasishta owner Kodigudla Venkata Ramana was arrested on September 20. His business partners Yalla Prabhavathi, wife of Subbarao, and Yerramsetti Atchuthamani, wife of Rajarao, escaped after the boat capsizes in the river on September 15.
The ASP said 67 tourists and eight crew members were aboard the boat at the time of the mishap. Several tourists were rescued by villagers of Kachuluru. The two drivers, who were killed in the mishap, were new to plying of the boat in Godavari river. The bodies of 37 tourists were retrieved from the river so far. The fate of 14 tourists is not known.
Refuting the charge of family members of the deceased that Devipatnam police had taken bribe from the operators of the boat to allow its operation to Papi Kondalu despite floods in the Godavari, the ASP clarified that police were not empowered to stop operation of tourist boats in the river. The police only ensure that the tourists travelling in boats in the river wear lifejackets for safety, the ASP said.