More than four years after a massive explosion and fire killing over 100 people during Puttingal temple festival in Kerala’s Kollam district, the state crime branch on Friday filed a chargesheet against 59 accused, including 15 temple officials. More than 600 people were injured in the tragedy.
“The chargesheet has been filed for murder, handling explosives very callously and without authorisation, destruction of public property. They have been booked under 11 sections”, IG S Sreejith, the officer supervising the probe told NDTV.
“Among the accused are 15 temple authorities. They decided to go ahead with the festivity against the government order that this could not take place. Those who own the blast licenses and aided and abetted these blasts have also been chargesheeted. They did not have permission for the fireworks but they had almost 5,500 kg stored, far more than the permissible levels”, IG Sreejit said.
The refusal of permission for use of fireworks by the district administration was communicated to the temple officials on April 8, 2016, while the festival was scheduled for 10th April.
The chargesheet does not mention any criminal charges against any district officials.
According to sources, the forensic teams as well as explosive controllers found Potassium Chlorate along with other explosives. Being highly reactive, it is used with explosives to enhance and magnify the reaction. The central government has banned the use of Potassium Chlorate for fireworks.