Acting swiftly in the wake of the Surat Gas Tragedy, the police have arrested another suspect this week. On Monday, they captured the Managing Director of Hikal, Sameer Hiremath, a Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company.
In January 2022, six labourers working at Vishwa Prema Silk Mills were found dead after inhaling highly toxic gases from a nearby creek at Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation, Sachin, Surat. Moreover, the workers hospitalised 20 more peers who became sick after inhaling the poisonous gas. A tanker was illegally releasing chemicals into the creek inside the Sachin GIDC area of Surat.
The Surat Crime Branch issued a lookout notice for Hiremath, suspected of being on the run. Now, Sameer has appeared in front of the Special Operations Group with anticipatory bail. After initial interrogation, the police allowed him to go. But, the police asked him to present before the SOG officials for further cross-questioning on Tuesday. The officials granted him bail on Tuesday after recording his statements.
On Wednesday, the Surat police sought the district court permission for five days remand of the accused. Meanwhile, the court has decided to take up the matter on Thursday. So far, the Surat Crime Branch has arrested 13 accused, including four Hikal employees. Following the Surat Gas Tragedy, the Gujarat Pollution Control Border (GPCB) launched a search and gathered specimens from the location.
The GPCB later discovered that Hikal, a Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company with a branch in Vadodara, owned the tanker. Currently, Hiremath is out on bail.
IPCs In Registered FIR
The Sachin GIDC police lodged an FIR against anonymous people under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder). The police have also imposed 336, 337, and 338 (rash and negligent acts endangering human lives). Moreover, they added 284 (rash and negligent acts involving poisonous substances) and 277 (voluntarily corrupting water of public springs or reservoirs). There are also 278 (making the atmosphere noxious to health). Furthermore, the cops have charged them with 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.