Bangladesh’s home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said on Wednesday that the country has sufficient expertise to carry out an investigation into the powerful explosion that ripped through a multi-storey building in a crowded area here, killing 18 people. The “earthquake-like” explosion at the seven-storey building at Old Dhaka’s crowded Gulistan area on Tuesday also injured over 150, officials said.
The cause of the explosion could not be known immediately, but local residents suspected chemicals illegally stored inside the building, mostly used as an office and business complex, might have sparked the blast. Talking to reporters after visiting the explosion site on Wednesday, Khan said members of bomb disposal units and police, army and fire service personnel will conduct the probe into the incident.
“But if the country’s experts fail (to investigate), we will seek assistance from foreign experts,” he said. “The investigation must be impartial. There is no reason for the investigation to be partial,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Star newspaper. Everything regarding the investigation will be made public, Khan said.
On Tuesday, hospital authorities confirmed 17 deaths while one more victim succumbed to his wounds overnight, raising the death toll to 18.
The number of wounded is over 150, officials said. A four-member probe body headed by Lieutenant Colonel Mohammad Tajul Islam Chowdhury, director of Fire Service and Civil Defence (Operation and maintenance), has been formed to look into the cause of the explosion. The committee has been tasked to submit its report within five working days.