A court in Dhaka on Tuesday ordered prison authorities to produce three owners of Abhijan-10 launch before it on January 19 in a case lodged over the devastating fire that engulfed the vessel, killing 49 of
its passengers recently.
Special Metropolitan Magistrate Joynab Begum of Dhaka’s Marine Court passed the order, showing Hamjalal Sheikh, 55, Md Shamim Ahmed, 43, and Md Russel Ahmed, 43, arrested in the case.
The court passed the order as Department of Shipping Prosecuting Officer Bellal Hossain pleaded to show the three arrested in the case and produce them before the court.
Earlier on January 2, two other accused, MV Abhijan’s in-charge driver Md Masum Billah and second driver Abul Kalam, surrendered before the court and pleaded for bail. The court scrapped their pleas and sent the duo to jail.
The same court on December 28 had sent launch’s in-charge master Md Riaj Shikder and second master Md Khalilur Rahman to jail.
Department of Shipping Chief Inspector Md Shafikur Rahman filed the case with the marine court on December 26 under sections 56/66 and 70 of Special Marine Act against eight.
According to the case documents, MV Abhijan started its voyage with several hundred passengers for Barguna from capital’s Sadarghat Launch Terminal on December 23. As the vessel was crossing Nalchiti area of Jhalakathi, its engine room caught fire. In spite of the fire, the launch officials did not anchor even though they had enough time. The whole launch burnt on Sugandha River, turning many of its passengers to ashes.
As the launch officials did not take appropriate steps, 42 passengers (which have jumped to 49 till now) burnt to death and around 150 were seriously injured, the plaintiff said in his allegations.
The vessel did not have appropriate number of fire extinguishers, life boya, life jackets, sand boxes or buckets.