Andhra Pradesh Police today filed a fresh case against state-run Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) in connection with Friday’s blaze, apparently caused by leakage in its gas pipleline in East Godavari district, even as the death toll rose to 16 with a child succumbing to injuries. Condition of six of the injured, who received around 80 per cent burns, remains critical, officials said.
“A baby girl undergoing treatment for severe burns died today at a private hospital in Kakinada. With this the toll in the incident has risen to 16,” East Godavari District Superintendent of Police G Vijay Kumar said.
A massive fire, triggered suspectedly after a tea vendor lit up a stove in the vicinity of the leaking pipeline running through residential areas of Nagaram village had left 15 dead and 20 injured early last morning.
Gigantic flames rose several metres up in the sky, scorching everything in a radius of about half a kilometre, including houses, vehicles and coconut trees. Police have lodged a fresh case against public sector GAIL in connection with the tragedy.
The case has been registered under sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 286 (negligent conduct with respect to explosive substance) of the Indian Penal Code, Vijay Kumar said.
The police had on Friday registered a case under section 174 CrPC (unnatural death). A fresh case under more serious sections has been registered after examining eyewitnesses and recording statements of victims’ relatives during preliminary investigation, he said.
Several villagers had alleged that they had complained about foul smell of gas emanating from the pipeline but no effort was made to plug the leak.