All the four accused in the case relating to a major blast that occurred at an explosives factory at T. Murungapatti near Thuraiyur in December 2016 appeared before the First Additional District and Sessions Judge (PCR) here on Tuesday for a hearing in connection with framing of charges. The blast claimed the lives of 19 persons and caused injuries to 18 others.
Officers of the Crime Branch CID, Tiruchi, investigating the case led by an officer in the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police were present. The CB-CID had named R. Vijayakannan, the managing director, licencee and occupier of the factory; factory director Prakasam and two others, S.S. Anand and R. Rajagopal, as the accused in the case. All the four appeared before the court when the hearing was held. Vijayakannan was the prime accused in the case.
Special Public Prosecutor A. Rajendhran representing the CB-CID submitted before the Court that 322 witnesses had been examined. The Controller of Explosives from Nagpur, who inspected the factory, found that PETN (Penta Erithritol Tetra Nitrate ) unit -II was razed to the ground in the explosion. Pieces of flesh of the victims were found scattered in the vicinity.
The equipment in the explosives factory was not maintained peoperly. There was excess storage of explosives in the PETN Unit-II where labourers beyond the permitted capacity were engaged at the time of explosion. There was ample evidence for framing of charges against the accused, the SPP contended. The prosecution had already submitted documents to the Court, including electronic evidences such as CDs and digital photos taken at the blast site.
The defence counsel contended that the accused should be discharged and no further proceedings should be continued against them as no offences were committed by them.
After hearing the submissions from both sides, the Judge adjourned the next hearing to February 23. The trial in the case would start only after the charges are framed, said the prosecution sources.
The blast at Vetrivel Explosives occurred at 7.20 a.m. on December 1, 2016 with the case initially booked by the Uppilliyapuram Police. Subsequently, the case was transferred to the CB-CID for a detailed investigation following a direction from the Director General of Police.