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Sabotage stench in shipyard fire

The fire at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) could be an act of sabotage, according to preliminary investigations carried out by the state fire services department and the defence ministry.

Fire services director Baren Sen said his agency was probing several angles, including sabotage. “The room in the southwest corner of the building’s top floor, where the fire most probably started, was locked. The devastation has made it extremely difficult for us to ascertain the actual cause of the fire. We are, however, not ruling out sabotage,” said Sen.

Tuesday night’s blaze gutted the designing and planning section and the central records section of GRSE, housed on the top floor of the three-storeyed main office inside the workshop.

A forensic science laboratory team reached the spot on Wednesday to collect samples for examination. A special team from the defence ministry and the army also visited the site to probe the sabotage angle.

The military intelligence wing of the army is monitoring the progress of the case, since it is a highly-sensitive zone. The Union home ministry and the Intelligence Bureau have listed GRSE as one of the major terrorist targets in West Bengal.

Speaking to Metro from Gandhinagar, minister of state for defence Harin Pathak said senior ministry of defence officers were conducting an inquiry into the fire.

Deputy commissioner (port) Harmanpreet Singh questioned securitymen to probe the sabotage angle further. “Let us wait for the forensic report. At the moment, we are probing all possibilities,” said Singh.

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