A four-member team of forensic experts reached Malda on Wednesday and examined the spot at Netaji municipal market of the town, a day after two persons had died in a fire that occurred while they were unloading containers of calcium carbide.
The team collected samples from the spot but refrained from making comments on the incident. Sources in police said the team would submit a report within a week to the state government and the police.
Sabina Yeasmin, the minister of the state of north Bengal development department, visited the market on Wednesday. She, too, stuck to the theory of an explosion during the unloading of carbide containers and didn’t answer when asked whether illegal explosives stocked in an adjacent shop aggravated the situation.
“I should not comment as police are investigating the case. Primarily, we have learned that the incident occurred while unloading the containers. In some other places, there were explosions in firecracker-making units which claimed some lives. All steps have been taken to monitor such units and also to halt making and selling of firecrackers in an illegal manner,” Yeasmin, who is an MLA from the district, said.
She visited the houses of Ganesh Karmakar and Raju aka Manglu Rishi, the two workers who lost their lives yesterday.
Both of them were residents of Kazigram, a panchayat under Englishbazar block of the district. The local rural body, sources said, has announced a compensation of two lakhs each for both families.
Police officials, who are probing the case, said Amarnath Saha, who is co-proprietor of the carbide storage unit, has been arrested.
“A case has been registered at Englishbazar police station. We will take him into custody to gather more information. Our officers are also trying to find out whether they had appropriate licenses and permission to store the chemical,” said a police officer.
During the investigation, police have also learned that the firecracker shop, where some illegal crackers were stored, also belongs to the same family that owns the carbide storage unit.
“Searches are on to nab Somnath Saha (Amarnath’s brother), who has gone into hiding since yesterday,” said a source.
The incident, which had left the traders panicked, has also led to questions as to whether the Trinamul-run Englishbazar municipality keeps a watch on the municipal markets.
Dulal Sarkar, a Trinamul councilor and a vice-president of the party in Malda, said the administration, police, and the civic body couldn’t evade responsibility.