Tughlakabad gas leak : Six months on, Delhi Police still looking for answers

NEW DELHI
3 Dec 2017

More than six months after a chemical leak in a Tughlakabad container depot triggered noxious fumes, the Delhi Police is still probing what caused the tear in the plastic containers which stored the chemicals.

The police have sent the plastic containers to the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Chennai.
"We have sent the exhibits to the Chennai institute to ascertain what triggered the crack in them. The exhibits were sent a month back and the report is likely to come in the next two months," an officer privy to the probe said. The chemical leak on May 6 from the Tughlakabad container depot had affected over 450 girl students, a few teachers and some residents. Earlier, the investigators were considering sending a formal request to a China-based firm to ascertain whether containers transported to India were packaged keeping in mind Delhi's weather.

However, they have put it on hold since they were awaiting the report from the institute in Chennai. The officer said the import of the material was legal and they have to establish whose negligence was it that triggered the leak. It is being probed whether there was some reaction between the chemical and the plastic container, he added. "If the report will say that it was the failure of the material, the firm that manufactures the plastic containers will be held responsible for negligence, or the firm that had informed about the specifications of the container to the importer will be held accountable," the officer said. If it's found that the tear was due to negligence in handling the containers, the criminality will be of the custom handling agents. It is also being probed whether the containers were packaged keeping in mind the Indian weather conditions. "The documents that we have procured mention that the containers will sustain themselves in temperature up to 40 degrees Celsius. The incident happened in summer when there was a heat wave. The report will answer this question also," he said.

The police had registered an FIR in the case under various sections of the IPC and the Environment (Protection) Act against unidentified persons.