Korangi DC, AC granted bail in Mehran Town factory fire case

Our Correspondent
Wednesday, Oct 13, 2021

A sessions judge on Tuesday granted interim bail before arrest to District Korangi’s deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner in the Mehran Town factory fire case.

Sixteen workers were killed in a fire at the BM Luggage Industry located in the Mehran Town area of Korangi on August 27. Of the victims, three were brothers and more than half were under the age of 30, with the youngest victim being 18 years old and the eldest 41.

DC Saleemullah Odho and AC Sajida Ayaz of the Korangi district approached the district & sessions judge of District East, seeking bail in the above-mentioned case.

A judicial magistrate had recently issued warrants for their arrest after it transpired during the police investigation that the luggage factory was operating illegally in a residential area allegedly due to the negligence of the authorities.

The commissioners contended that they were falsely implicated in the case with mala fide intentions, yet they were willing to contest the allegations, but they apprehended their arrest by the police, so they prayed that the court grant them bail.

The judge approved their applications for bail before arrest against a surety of Rs500,000 each, ordering them to join the police investigation and appear in court again on October 16 for the confirmation of their bail or otherwise.

Meanwhile, the judge also issued notices to the prosecutor to argue over the bail applications, and to the investigating officer to bring the police file in court on the next date of hearing.

Police had implicated a total of 10 suspects in the charge sheet: building owner Faisal Tariq, his tenant and factory owner Ali Mehta, manager Imran Zaidi, gatekeeper Syed Zarin, supervisors Rehan and Zafar, labour official Muhammad Ali, Sindh Building Control Authority Deputy Director (Korangi) Abdul Sami, Karachi Development Authority (KDA) Deputy Director (Land) Irfan Hussain and Civil Defence Deputy Controller Shahabuddin.

However, the magistrate ordered the IO to include the names of the above-mentioned commissioners

and eight others, including K-Electric’s general manager and head of new connections, KDA Executive Engineer Zahid Hussain, Civil Defence Director Safdar Ali Bughio, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Director Kamran Khan and Fire Brigade Korangi incharge Ishtiaq Ahmed.

He had observed that the property was residential but was being illegally used for commercial and industrial purposes, and the relevant land-owning, building control, civil defence and environment authorities did not take any action against the establishment, while KE also provided commercial and industrial power connections to it.

He added that the perusal of the police file revealed that the police officials had tried to let off certain people responsible for the incident.

He, however, had removed the name of labour official Ali from the charge sheet, observing that his was the only department that had taken action against the factory before.