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Fuel samples sent to IIP lab

Dhubri, Aug. 17: Dhubri police investigating the kerosene stove and lamp blast cases have sent samples of kerosene to the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) in Dehradun, fearing biased test reports by the Assam State Forensic Science Laboratory.

A senior police official said the samples were sent to Dehradun to crosscheck the report already submitted by the laboratory at Kahilipara in Guwahati.

This was done keeping in mind that the report from the IIP will also help in the investigation into the nature of inflammable substance mixed in the kerosene and it could then shed light on where and how it was mixed, he said.

When contacted, Dhubri deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Dharmendra Gogoi said they had sent the samples to IIP Dehradun last week and were awaiting its report.

Replying to a question on the need to send the samples to IIP Dehradun when there is State Forensic Science Laboratory in Guwahati, Gogoi said they wanted to have an impartial investigation.

“We have already started investigation into the 54 cases of kerosene stove and lamp explosion cases registered in Dhubri. Investigation is at the initial stage but a lot of people connected with distribution, including IOC officials, have been interrogated,” Gogoi said.

Chirang superintendent of police Debraj Upaddhaya, who has also sent the kerosene samples to IIP Dehradun for further tests, said IIP was the only competent institute in the country with sophisticated machinery to analyse the solvents in the petroleum products.

“It even assists the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in formulating standards for petroleum products, equipment and devices using these products. So the report from the IIP will enable us to take the investigation forward in the right direction,” Upadhaya said.

He said the nature of kerosene stove and lamp blasts were not identical in all places as the explosions in Chirang took place under different circumstances.

It is a very complicated matter and it is difficult to ascertain the cause of the blasts until the entire chain, right from production to distribution of kerosene, is properly investigated, he added.

A senior police official of lower Assam said on August 11, a team of superintendents of police from Dhubri, Bongaigaon and Chirang, led by deputy inspector-general (western range) Pratul Phukan, visited the plant sites of production at the Bongaigaon Refinery & Petrochemicals Limited and inspected the IOC distribution system.

The team also collected the list of names of officials and staff on duty from July 19 till August 11.

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