Three SBCA officials get interim bail in factory fire case

Published October 12, 2021
A team of firefighters busy extinguishing the fire at the Mehran Town factory. — APP/File
A team of firefighters busy extinguishing the fire at the Mehran Town factory. — APP/File

KARACHI: A sessions court on Monday granted interim pre-arrest bail to three officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) in a case pertaining to the Mehran Town factory fire case.

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

On Monday, SBCA Deputy Director-Korangi Abdul Sami, Assistant Director Khawar Hayat and senior building inspector Syed Muhammad Salman Shahid approached the court of the district and sessions court (East) seeking grant of bail to avoid their arrest in the present case.

The applicants submitted that they were booked in the present case malafidely and while they wanted to join the investigation they apprehended arrest by the police.

They asked the court to grant them bail before arrest so that they could join the investigation.

Without touching the merits of the case, District and Sessions Judge Khalid Hussain Shahani granted them bail before arrest subject to furnishing a surety in sum of Rs500,000 each.

The judge also issued a notice to the public prosecutor and investigating officer of the case and fixed the matter for Oct 12 (today) for confirmation of the interim bail or otherwise.

Initially, factory’s owner Hassan Meetha alias Ali Meetha, its building’s owner Faisal Tariq, its manager Syed Imran Ali Zaidi, supervisors Zafar Ali and Rehan and watchman Syed Zarin were booked for their alleged involvement in the manslaughter case. Later, they were arrested after the court recalled their interim pre-arrest bail.

Last week, the court had issued non-bailable warrant for the arrest of around 12 key officers of provincial departments and civic agencies and utilities after police filed a charge sheet against them for their alleged negligence that led to the death of 16 workers.

The officers facing arrest include labour department officer Muhammad Ali, Karachi Develop­ment Authority (KDA) Deputy Director (Land) Irfan Hussain and Executive Engineer Zahid Hussain, Civil Defence Director Safdar Ali and Deputy Controller Shahabuddin, and deputy commissioner-Korangi.

Two officials of the K-Electric got their arrest warrants suspended by the Sindh High Court in the present case.

A case was registered under Sections 322 (manslaughter) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Korangi Industrial Area police station on behalf of the state through SHO Mohammad Tariq Arain.

Man remanded in police custody

A judicial magistrate on Monday remanded a suspect in police custody for trying to kidnap five madressah students.

The investigating officer (IO) produced the suspect, Faheem, before Judicial Magistrate (South) Sohail Nadeem Gaddi to seek his remand in police custody for interrogation and investigation.

The IO informed the court that the suspect along with five children of a family had hired a rickshaw to take them to Khyber Chowk, adding that later he kept changing the dropping points, which alerted the driver.

He submitted that the suspect had allegedly tried to abduct the children while they were returning from a local seminary. The suspect changed two rickshaws during the attempt, he added.

The IO stated that the suspect, who had purportedly divorced his wife some three months ago, had abducted the minors with an intention to sexually abuse them.

He pleaded to the magistrate to grant his 14-day physical remand in the custody of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell of police for interrogation, completion of investigation and other legal formalities.However, the magistrate granted the remand for three days.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2021

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