Dombivli factory blast toll rises to 13, fugitive owners held from Thane, Nashik

Firemen Sprinkle water inside the chemical factory area at Dombivli where a blast on Thursday killed at least 9 people and injured 60, in Thane, Friday, May 24, 2024.(Photo: IANS/Nitin Lawate)

Firemen Sprinkle water inside the chemical factory area at Dombivli where a blast on Thursday killed at least 9 people and injured 60, in Thane, Friday, May 24, 2024.(Photo: IANS/Nitin Lawate)

Thane (Maharashtra), May 24 (IANS): The death toll in the blast-cum-blaze in Amudan Chemical Pvt Ltd in Dombivli city of Maharashtra's Thane climbed to 13 on Friday even as the police tracked down the two absconding owner-directors from Thane and Nashik, an official said.

Though they are residents of Mumbai, Malati P. Mehta was caught from Nashik, while her son Malay P. Mehta, 38, was picked up from his hideout in Thane, Deputy Commissioner of Police Parag Manere said.

He said that both were detained by the Crime Branch teams, are currently being interrogated and after their exact role is established, will be arrested and handed over to the Manpada police station which is probing the case.

The mother-son duo has been booked under various charges, including the IPC's Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and other laws like the Explosives Act, 1884, the Explosive Substances Act, and the Damage to Public Property Act.

With two more bodies recovered from the rubble, the toll in the Amudan Chemical Pvt Ltd factory in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) complex has shot up to 13.

More than 60 other persons were injured, many critically in the explosions followed by a massive fire in the chemical reactor at the factory, and rescue work is still underway to trace any more victims.

The people in Dombivli and the surrounding area of around 4 km woke up to a strong stench of burnt chemicals, metal and dust with a thin layer of smoky ash on the roads, shops and homes, from Thursday’s tragedy with many people seen moving around wearing face masks to avoid the stink.

After the blast-cum-blaze at around 1.40 p.m. on Thursday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Leader of Opposition in the Council Ambadas Danve, Nationalist Congress Party-SP leader Dr Jitendra Awhad and others visited the spot and the hospitals where the injured are being treated.