The Andhra Pradesh police on Tuesday arrested Sunkey Jong, the chief executive officer of LG Polymers, and 11 other officials in connection with the styrene vapour leak at the company’s plant in Visakhapatnam in May, PTI reported. At least 11 people were killed and over 200 hospitalised after the gas leak on May 7.
Others arrested in the case include LG Polymers Technical Director DS Kim and Operations Additional Director P Purnachandra Mohan Rao, along with nine other employees of the firm. The Pollution Control Board has also suspended three of its officials for gross negligence.
Later in the day, the Visakhapatnam District Magistrate sent the accused to police remand till July 22, according to ANI.
This came a day after a high-power committee formed by the Andhra Pradesh government said that human negligence and lapses in warning systems led to the accident. The committee recommended filing cases against all directors and managers of the company, shutting it down or shifting it out, or converting it into a non-polluting unit.
“Investigation disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to the negligence of these persons, who also have knowledge that their acts were likely to cause death,” Visakhapatnam Commissioner of Police RK Meena said. However, the case is still under investigation as reports from various departments have to be obtained and witnesses need to be examined, he added.
The arrests were made exactly two months after the police registered a case against LG Polymers on May 7 for the gas leak. The Gopalapatnam police had registered the case against the authorities under sections 284 (negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code. Sections 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health) were also slapped against the company.
After the report was submitted on Monday, Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy had directed authorities of various departments to initiate legal action against those responsible for the gas leak. He also ordered that the entire report be placed in public domain for people to access.