Karnataka govt hands over fire tragedy investigation to CID

The toll in the tragedy, which was 12 at Saturday midnight, increased to 14 as two more bodies were found in the early hours of Sunday.
FILE- Fire and Police personnel at the spot on Sunday, where cracker shops gutted in fire at Attibele in which 14 people died and few more injured, on Saturday. (Express Photo)
FILE- Fire and Police personnel at the spot on Sunday, where cracker shops gutted in fire at Attibele in which 14 people died and few more injured, on Saturday. (Express Photo)

BENGALURU:  A day after a fire tragedy at a firecracker shop near Attibele close to the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, CM Siddaramaiah announced that the investigation into the case will be handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The toll in the tragedy, which was 12 at Saturday midnight, increased to 14 as two more bodies were found in the early hours of Sunday. The police have arrested three persons. The state government is planning to bring in stricter rules to open firecracker stalls, ahead of the Deepavali festival in November.

Siddaramaiah, who inspected the spot along with DCM DK Shivakumar and others, said 14 youngsters, most of them students, lost their lives. “Prima facie, there were no safety measures at the shop. The licence holder, Ramaswamy Reddy had two valid licences (one from September 13, 2023 to October 31, 2028 and the other from January 18, 2021 to January 28, 2026) under the Explosive Substances Act to store and sell up to 1,000 kg of crackers.”  

CM announces Rs 5L relief to the families of victims

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “The structure had no fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers. The fire department has given a no-objection certificate based on which the deputy commissioner has issued the licence. The DC should have visited the shop before issuing the licence.” He said crackers had arrived in trucks on Saturday afternoon and the incident occurred while they were being unloaded between 3.15 pm and 3.30 pm. “The cause of the fire is still under investigation,” he added.

He announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the families of the deceased. The state government will bear the medical expenses of four persons who were injured and are being treated, he added. Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian, who visited the scene, also announced Rs 3 lakh compensation from the TN government. DK Shivakumar said the state will formulate a policy to ensure that such incidents don’t repeat. “We will conduct a survey across the state to check whether cracker stalls and godowns are adhering to safety guidelines,” he added. The CM and DCM also visited the hospital, where the injured are being treated.

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