by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
The owners and top executives of a factory were remanded in custody after a fire at the food processing plant killed at least 52 of its workers, officials said on Saturday.
The chairman, four directors and three executives of Sajeeb Group that owns the Hashem Foods Limited will face custodial interrogation for four days, police officer Asaduzzamn.
He said a Narayanganj court granted the police plea for their custodial interrogation after the investigators placed the eight before the court on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, police arrested Abul Hashem, his four sons – Deputy Managing Director Hasib Bin Hashem (Sajeeb) and directors Tareq Ibrahim (Satej), Tawsif Ibrahim (Sheetal) and Tanjim Ibrahim, and Sajeeb Group chief operating officer Shahan Shah Azad, and Hashem Foods Limited Deputy General Manager Mamunur Rashid and its admin chief Salahuddin.
They were accused of culpable homicide after the deaths of the workers in the fire that swept through the Hashem Food Ltd on Thursday afternoon killing at least 52 people, many of whom were trapped on the fourth floor behind a locked door.
The firefighters took more than 20 hours to extinguish the blaze at the six-storey building in Rupganj of Narayanagaj, located nearly 25 kilometers east of the capital Dhaka.
On Friday afternoon, the rescuers found the charred bodies of 49 workers on the fourth floor of the building while three other workers had been found dead shortly after the fire erupted at the factory.
The factory was manufacturing juices, soft drinks and other food items and exporting them to many countries in the Middle East, Asia, America and Africa.
Workers who survived the fire told media that the gate was usually padlocked for security reasons, and security guards refused to open it without the owner’s orders.
Firefighting officials said the death could have been lesser had the gate inside the building was opened during the accident. They rescued 25 people who could go up to the rooftop and the others managed to escape after breaking open a gate.