Vol. 5 Num 317 Mon. April 18, 2005  
Front Page

Investigators fail to quiz any of factory owners

The Detective Branch of police, which is investigating the tragedy at Palashbari, has been unable to question a single person associated with Spectrum Sweaters Industries Ltd., even one week after the deadly collapse of the nine-storey factory that has left 75 workers dead and more than 100 missing.

Khorshed Alam, the investigative officer of the case and the OC of the Detective Branch, told The Daily Star, "I am investigating the case but the problem is I cannot trace the owner of the company. He is absconding and I do not have his address."

Alam then asked if this correspondent had any clue about the address of the owner of Spectrum Sweater Industries Ltd. When this correspondent cited the DOHS address of the factory owner, Alam wrote it down and said, "Now I might do something."

Nazrul Islam, in charge of the Savar police station, filed a case on April 12, a day after the tragic incident, under section 338/ 304 Ka of the penal code, which deals with murder by negligence. The case was then immediately transferred to the Detective Branch.

Official sources said that, as the owner of the Spectrum Sweater Industries Ltd. is a relative of an influential ruling party lawmaker, the police are reluctant to inquire and do not dare to arrest them.

The owner of the factory built the nine-storey building using a faulty design that was never approved by the Rajuk authorities.

Relatives of the victims, meanwhile, have begun to express frustration with the slow pace of the investigation. "The incident happened a week ago, scores are feared dead and there has been no action whatsoever against the culprits. This clearly indicates how these people can get away with murder in broad daylight," said a retired government official from Savar, who lost one of his nephews in the Palashbari tragedy.