New Delhi: The Gujarat High Court has refused anticipatory bail to accused managerial staff of a chemical factory in Dahej, in the Bharuch district of the state, where ten workers died on June 3 in a blast. The blast occurred at a facility owned by specialty chemicals and intermediates company Yashasvi Rasayan. Seventy-seven labourers were injured.
The court, in denying bail, referred to the December 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy to show the seriousness of the incident and said that the explosion occurred due to a chemical reaction in storage room B, containing nitric acid. The explosion took place at around 12 pm. Six workers died on the spot and four more died during treatment.
Justice Gita Gopi said that instead of taking any corrective measures, the applicants sat on this wrongdoing for about 24 hours.
The bench also referred to the industrial accident in May at the LG polymer chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh and said that the incident shows how “gas spreads rapidly in the vicinity of a chemical plant.”
The bench also said: “People had fallen on the streets, being unable to breathe this gas and its pungent smell. Footage of it was seen by all.”
Those denied bail were the production in-charge, unit head, head of plant and liquid storage, fire and security chief. The court has held all of them guilty in the case of prima facie non-willful murder.
The court stated that the company is engaged in the business of chemical processing and that the applicants are “serving in various technical positions requiring specialized knowledge and expertise to deal with such hazardous chemicals.”But there was a need to take immediate corrective measures” on their part, the court said.
The high court further held in its order that DMS is an oily liquid that is used extensively as an alkylating agent and is highly toxic for humans. This has a rapid effect on the respiratory system.
The bench said: “Thus, it is a clear fact that the two chemicals – Dimethyl Sulphate (DMS) and sodium, with which the applicants were working, are highly toxic.”
The applicants had filed the petition to seek anticipatory bail in the FIR registered in respect of offenses punishable under sections 304, 337, 338, 203, 285, 286, 287,427 and 114 of the IPC.
-India Legal Bureau