The chief of an inquiry committee and additional secretary of the home ministry, Mainuddin Khandakar, said that those responsible for the collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar,
are likely to tried under Sections 304 and 304 (A) of the Penal Code.
Talking to this correspondent at his secretariat office, on Wednesday, Khandakar said that the owner of the nine-stored building, Sohel Rana, a local leader of the ruling Awami League, is very much responsible for the ‘Savar Tragedy’, which claimed 1,127 lives and left thousands injured. Being exceedingly greedy, Rana was only interested in earning money, he added.
Sohel Rana, who built the high-rise building after grabbing land from Rabindra Nath Sarkar, who, incidentally, belongs to the minority Hindu community, should be punished by the authorities concerned, so that no garments manufacturer or building owner commits the same offence in the future, Khandakar said.
At the same time, the owners of the five garment factories located in Rana Plaza are also responsible for the tragedy, and they are likely to be tried under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), for insisting that the building was safe to operate and leading to the death of so many workers, he added.
Khandakar said they will also recommend using only those electrical cables that are certified to resist fires arising out of electrical short-circuit.
“We are preparing the inquiry report, and it is on the final stage. We will submit the inquiry report to the government, within a week,” he said.
He also informed that at least 10 people were arrested, including Sohel Rana, and his father, Abdul Khaleque. The chief inspector of factories (CIF) and establishments, Habibur Rahman, has filed five separate cases with the Labour Court, against Sohel Rana and the owners of four garment factories, for building the high-rise in violation of the building code, and failing to ensure workers’ safety.
On April 25, the home ministry had formed a five-member probe committee, headed by Khandakar, to find out the reasons and identifying the people responsible for the tragedy.
Four other inquiry committees were formed in this connection, on the same day.
Of those committees, the LGRD committee, headed by a joint secretary of the LGRD ministry, Md Akhtar Hossain, submitted its report, with six-point recommendations, before the secretary of the ministry, on May 2.
In its report, the committee said that eight people are responsible for the tragedy. They are: Savar municipality mayor Md Refayetullah, councillor of ward no. 7, Mohammad Ali Khan, former chief executive officer of Savar municipality, Uttam Kumar Roy (now working at Munshiganj municipality), former executive engineer of the municipality, Md Rafiqul Islam (now working at Comilla municipality), former sub-assistant engineer of the municipality, Md Rafiqul Hassan (Russel) (now working at Gazipur municipality), urban planner Farzana Islam, RAJUK architect ATM Masud Reza, and its structural engineer, Sazzad Hossain.
The committee noted that these eight were behind approving the building’s design, bypassing the original plan, and added the additional seventh to tenth floors to the ill-fated building, by creating a new file, which was a gross negligence on their part. The probe panel also charged them with abuse of power.
Besides, another inquiry committee, headed by the director of labour directorate, Khorshed Alam, also submitted its primary report before the labour ministry, on May 9. In its report, the committee said that the owners of Rana Plaza and the owners and senior officials of the five garments factories were responsible for the Savar Tragedy.
“We are preparing the inquiry report for final submission to the ministry, by May 22,” Khorshed Alam told this correspondent.
After the collapse of Rana Plaza, a total of 3,553 people were retrieved from the debris of the building. Amongst them, 2,438 persons were rescued alive and 1,115 bodies were recovered.
The last survivor to be pulled out from debris was Reshma, who was rescued days after the collapse and the last body recovered from the rubble was that of a girl, Shahinur.
A total of 291 people are under treatment in different hospitals, while 59 bodies are still in the morgues. A total of 234 unidentified bodies were buried, after collecting the DNA samples.
Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardy, General Officer-Commanding (GOC) of the Ninth Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army, at a briefing on May 13, said they have successfully wrapped up the rescue operation, 20 days after the collapse of the building, with cooperation from local residents, rescue volunteers, personnel of army, navy and the air force, fire service, police, Ansar, RAB and several private organisations.
-with The Independent input