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LG Polymers CEO among 12 arrested over Vizag gas leak mishap

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

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Visag Gas Victims Protests

Visakhapatnam, July 7 : LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO, Sunkey Jeong and Technical Director D.S. Kim were among 12 officials of the company arrested by Visakhapatnam police on Tuesday, in connection with the styrene gas leak tragedy that left 15 dead and hundreds hospitalised in May this year.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, R.V.S.N. Murthy, who is also the investigation officer, said the accused were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

They were also booked under Indian Penal Code”s Sections 278 (Making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

The gas leak from LG Polymers plant on the intervening night of May 6 and 7 affected Venkatapuram and five other villages.

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

The development comes a day after the High Powered Committee (HPC) submitted its probe report to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The HPC probe report had listed several lapses on the part of the LG Polymers management, which led to the styrene gas leakage.

The other accused arrested on Tuesday are LG Polymers” and Additional Director (Operations) P.P. Chandra Mohan Rao, HOD, SMH (in-charge) K. Srinivas Kiran Kumar, team leader production Raju Satyanarayana, engineers C. Chandrasekhar, K. Gowri Sankara Nagendra Ramu, K. Chakrapani, operator Muddu Rajesh, night duty officer (operations) P. Balaji, incharge GPPS S. Atchyut and safety officer in night shift K. Venkata Narasimha Ramesh Patnaik.

According to the investigating official, the investigations disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to negligence of the accused who were also having knowledge that their acts are likely to cause death.

“The investigations so far made disclosed that the accident occurred to the poor design of M6 Tank, inadequate refrigeration and cooling system, absence of circulation systems, inadequate measurement parameters, weak safety protocol, poor safety awareness, inadequate risk assessment and response, poor management, slackness of management, insufficient knowledge amongst staff, insufficient understanding of the chemical properties of styrene, especially during storage under idle conditions and total breakdown of the emergency response procedures,” the police said.

Meanwhile, in a related development in the case, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) suspended environmental engineers R. Lakshmi Naryana and P. Prasada Rao for negligence.

Acting on the report of the HPC, APPCB suspended Prasada Rao, environmental engineer, regional office, Visakhapatnam, for gross negligence in allowing operation of LG Polymers without environmental clearance, allowing import and storage of huge quantity of styrene without verifying safety and environmental issues. Lakshmi Narayana, environmental engineer, zonal office, Visakhapatnam, was also suspended on the same charges.

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Bihar CM Nitish recommends CBI probe into Sushant Singh case

Sushant Singh Rajput’s family on Tuesday made a formal request to the Bihar government through their lawyer, Vikas Singh, that a CBI probe should be ordered in the case.

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Nitish Kumar Sad

Patna, Aug 4 : The Bihar government on Tuiesday recommended a CBI inquiry into the alleged suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Kumar Saturday said that he was open to recommending the CBI probe into Sushant’s death if the late actor’s father requests the state government for it.

Sushant’s family on Tuesday made a formal request to the Bihar government through their lawyer Vikas Singh that a CBI probe should be ordered in the case.

“The DGP spoke to Sushant Singh Rajput’s father this morning and he gave consent for CBI inquiry. So now, we are recommending CBI probe in the matter,” Bihar CM Nitish Kumar told ANI.

Sushant’s father Krishna Kumar Singh (74), who resides in Patna, had last month lodged a complaint with the Bihar Police against actress Rhea Chakraborty, her family members and six others for abetment to suicide of his son and fraud. Singh has accused Chakraborty, the purported girlfriend of Rajput, of having befriended his son in May 2019 with the intention of furthering her own career.

He also wanted a police investigation to ascertain where the Rs 15 crore deposited in a bank account held by Sushant was transferred. However, the investigation has flared into a tug of war between the Bihar and Mumbai Police. Amid escalating acrimony between Mumbai and Bihar police over jurisdictional issues, an IPS officer who had landed in Mumbai on Sunday for leading the SIT probe in the case, was quarantined under the COVID-19 regulations in force in the city, a development Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called “inappropriate and forcible”.

Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey said in Patna that the state police would lodge a formal protest with the Mumbai municipal authorities over the “forcible quarantine” of Vinay Tiwari who was on official duty.

The issue resonated in the two Houses of Bihar legislature, with lawmakers across the political divide demanding a CBI investigation into the death of the 34-year-old Patna-born actor.

Both Mumbai and Patna police are probing the case parallelly.

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IPS officer under house arrest on pretext of quarantine: Bihar DGP

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Gupteshwar Pandey IPS

Patna, Aug 4 : Expressing his displeasure over what he called non-cooperation of Mumbai Police in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey claimed that IPS officer Vinay Tiwari was put under house arrest in Mumbai on the pretext of quarantine.

Tiwari was ‘quarantined’ by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on Sunday night after he arrived in the metropolis regarding the investigations into the Rajput case. The IPS officer from the Bihar cadre is heading a team of state police investigating the case.

Speaking to IANS, Pandey alleged that the Mumbai Police was “not cooperating” with Bihar Police in the probe into the alleged suicide case of the Bollywood actor and was “speaking the language of actress Rhea Chakraborty” who has been blamed by the bereaved family for the death of Rajput.

“Mumbai Police is parroting Rhea Chakraborty’s stand. She is saying Bihar Police can’t investigate the case and the Mumbai Police is supporting her contention,” Pandey remarked.

“There is a certain respect that is due to an IPS officer. What message does the Mumbai Police want to convey to junior officials? They go like thieves and put an officer under house arrest. A few days ago, one of our officers was shoved and forced to sit in a prisoners’ van. I denied all this to the media to save the reputation of the Mumbai Police. But this did happen as all saw the incident.”

“We are trying to bring out the truth in the case. We too are adamant that we will not let the matter rest,” the Director General of Police said.

The Bihar DGP said that the situation was so bad now in Mumbai that he was sure to be put under house arrest if he visited the metropolis to clear up things.

Pandey claimed that he had tried many a times to talk to the Mumbai Police chief but his calls had not been received. Nor has there been any revert from Mumbai Police, he added.

“A day after Rajput’s body was found in his Mumbai flat, I tried to talk to Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh, but he did not take the call. He also did not call back. I even sent a WhatsApp message, but there was no reply.”

The Bihar DGP said he had tried to call up again on Monday, but in vain. “We are now waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the issue. The investigations in the case can’t be done without cooperation between the Bihar and Mumbai Police.”

He alleged that the Mumbai Police was not even ready to show them the post-mortem report, CCTV footage, ‘panchnama’, forensic lab report etc regarding the case.

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Delhi govt bans use of hookah in hotels, restaurants to stem COVID-19 spread

Delhi has so far recorded 1,38,482 COVID-19 cases and 4,021 people have died due to the disease.

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hookah bar

New Delhi, Aug 3 : The Delhi government on Monday banned the use of hookahs, with or without tobacco, in all public places, including hotels, restaurants and bars, with immediate effect to control the spread of COVID-19.

Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as smoking means the fingers are in contact with the lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus, the health department said in an order.

“Smokers may also already have lung diseases or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness,” it said.

Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings, the health department said.

Therefore, the use and sharing of hookah, with or without tobacco (herbal hookah), “which might further increase the spread of SARS-CoV2, is strictly prohibited in all public places, including hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, eateries, discotheques, etc. in Delhi with immediate effect to prevent and control the outbreak of COVID-19”, it said.

Delhi has so far recorded 1,38,482 COVID-19 cases and 4,021 people have died due to the disease.

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