Three directors of Mumbai firm held

SURAT: The city’s detection of crime branch (DCB) arrested four more people, including three directors of the Maharashtra’s Taloja-based chemical company, Hikal Ltd, in connection with the Sachin GIDC gas leak tragedy. Even as Hikal Ltd issued a statement claiming that the discharged chemical was not the same the same that had left the company’s premises in Taloja, DCB arrested were Mansukh Patel (50), head, sustainability and corporate affairs, Abhay Dandekar (48), general manager in-charge of supply chain and Machhindranath Gorhe (49), head of production division at Hikal.

“Sodium hydro sulphide (dilute solution 16%) which is a non-hazardous chemical is generated at the Taloja plant of the company that was entrusted to Sangam Enviro Private Limited for processing and onward sale to the textile/cement sector. The company clarifies that this was from a different tanker bearing No. GJ-06-ZZ-6221. This was not the same tanker that left the company’s premises in Taloja,” the statement read. The four were remanded to police custody till January 17. Vadodara-based Sangam Enviro’s Ashishkumar Gupta (41), the key architect of the gas leak case, had purchased 25,000 litres of the chemical at Rs14 per litre from Hikal saying it was to be sold to a cement-making company. He was arrested along with five others including two more directors of Sangam Enviro, Nilesh Bahera (28) and Maitrai Vairagi (39). Besides them, police also arrested Raman Baria (40), a resident of Aakash Row House in Pandesara area of Surat. Baria, who runs a powerloom unit in Sachin GIDC, had illegally released acidic chemicals just before the accused dumped sulphur hypochlorite. The mixing of both chemicals resulted in toxic gas that spread in the area, said the police. In the tragic incident that took place on road number 3 of Sachin GIDC near Vishwa Prem Dyeing and Printing Mills at around 3am, 6 workers of the mill died instantly from inhaling the poisonous gas generated in the area from the illegal toxic dumping, while 23 more workers are fighting for their lives in the hospital.

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