IO gets five more days to file final report in Mehran Town factory fire case

Published September 19, 2021
Firefighters try to put out the blaze after a factory caught fire in Karachi's Mehran Town. — DawnNewsTV/File
Firefighters try to put out the blaze after a factory caught fire in Karachi's Mehran Town. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: A judicial magistrate on Saturday granted five more days to the investigating officer of the Mehran Town factory fire case for filing a final investigation report.

The fire allegedly caused by an electric short-circuit engulfed the industrial unit, BM Luggage, on Aug 27 killing 16 workers.

Factory’s owner Hassan Meetha alias Ali Meetha, its building’s owner Faisal Tariq, manager Syed Imran Ali Zaidi, supervisors Zafar and Rehan and watchman Syed Zarin have been booked for their alleged involvement in the incident.

Police had first arrested the watchman and later Meetha, Tariq and Zaidi were also arrested after District and Sessions Judge (East) Khalid Hussain Shahani had revoked their interim pre-arrest bail.

On Saturday, the matter came up before Judicial Magistrate (East) Sher Mohammad Kolachi when the four held suspects were produced in custody.

The IO was set to submit a final investigation report under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), but he moved an application stating that the probe was still incomplete, as absconding suspects Zafar and Rehan were arrested and needed to be interrogated.

The suspects were produced in court and the IO requested for their physical remand. However, the court sent them to prison on judicial remand.

The IO also informed the court that the reports of chemical and forensic analysis of the samples collected from the burnt premises of the industrial unit were also awaited from the Forensic Science Laboratory of the University of Karachi.

The IO added that notices had also been issued to the officers/officials of the relevant provincial government departments and civic agencies, summoning them along with their respective reports regarding action, if any, taken by them against the owners of the factory and its building for allegedly running commercial business in residential structure. Their responses were still awaited, he added.

He requested the court to allow more time to complete the investigation and other legal formalities and submit the final investigation report.

On the other hand, defence counsel Hasan Sabir argued that the court had earlier accepted an interim investigation report, which was filed by the IO after the lapse of the stipulated time in contradiction of the relevant law.

Opposing the request for extension in time for submission of the final report, he submitted the IO had failed to complete the investigation and might not be allowed further time for this purpose.

While allowing the IO’s request, the magistrate, however, granted him five-day time to submit the final investigation report and adjourned the hearing.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2021

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