Attibele firecracker tragedy: Karnataka government orders magisterial probe

The magisterial inquiry will include spot inspection and verification of documents, and look into the circumstances that led to the mishap.

BySouth First Desk

Published Oct 18, 2023 | 12:58 PMUpdatedOct 18, 2023 | 4:36 PM

A total of 16 people were killed in a fire accident at a firecrackers godown in Attibele. (Supplied)

A magisterial probe was ordered by the Karnataka government to look into the Attibele firecracker tragedy that killed 16 people earlier this month — on 7 October.

Bengaluru Regional Commissioner Amlan Aditya Biswas will conduct the inquiry and submit a report in three months, a government order said on Tuesday, 17 October.

The magisterial inquiry will include spot inspection and verification of documents, and will look into the circumstances that led to the mishap.

It will ascertain whether the incident was accidental or caused by negligence and whether or not there were lapses in issuing the licence to Sri Balaji Traders. It will also find those responsible for any dereliction of duty, if any.

The total loss caused due to the mishap would also be calculated.

Related: Tragic inferno at illegal firecracker storage claims 14 lives 


The Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) Inspector General of Police (IGP) Praveen Madhukar launched a comprehensive investigation into the fire mishap.

Under the supervision of the IGP, a CID team conducted a thorough examination of the incident site on Tuesday, meticulously inspecting the godown that had been reduced to ashes.

The CID investigators collaborated with Bengaluru Rural SP Mallikarjun Baldandi, the forensic team, and firefighters to gather detailed information crucial to the investigation.

The case has been officially transferred to the CID and an FIR has been registered at the Attibele Police Station.

The fire at a facility belonging to Sri Balaji Traders, which had firecrackers stocked up, had killed 14 people on the spot. Two others succumbed to injuries later.

The order said that Sri Balaji Traders owners V Ramaswamy Reddy, who secured the licence to store firecrackers at his commercial complex, and his son Anil Kumar are under arrest, and a third accused is under treatment in the hospital.

According to the police, the victims were employed at Balaji Traders and found themselves caught up in the inferno as they laboured to unload firecracker cartons from a transport vehicle, at around 3:30 pm on 7 October.

Related: Death toll in Attibele firecracker mishap rises to 16

Strict action taken

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had announced a series of stringent measures to address lapses in the handling of explosive materials, ultimately leading to the suspension of key officers — local tahsildar, police inspector, and chief fire officer.

The district deputy commissioner and police superintendent were given notices.

Notably, the government also banned the bursting of crackers during political events, processions, marriages, and religious occasions, like Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

The prohibition is apparently aimed at preventing further mishaps and ensuring the safety of citizens, aligning with recent directives from the Supreme Court regarding the production and sale of green crackers.

Also read: Karnataka bans firecrackers as CID launches investigation into Attibele factory blaze 

TN and Karnataka CMs offer condolences

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister MK Stalin have expressed condolences to the deceased in the tragedy near the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.

Eight of the deceased — Prakash (20), Vettappan (25), Aathikesavan (23), Vijayaraghavan (20), Ilambaruthi (19), Akash (23), Giri (22), and Sachin (22) — are residents of Ammapettai village in Harur taluka of Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, three other deceased — Prabakaran (17), Vasantharaj (23), and Appas (23) — were residents of the Kallakuruchi district, also in Tamil Nadu.

The Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments announced ₹5 lakh and ₹3 lakh ex-gratia, respectively, for the kin of the deceased.

(With PTI inputs)