Bengaluru police arrest private-firm owner after 2 STP workers found dead

The police suspect that they died either of electrocution or suffocation after inhaling some poisonous gases.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Feb 06, 2023 | 7:38 PM Updated Feb 07, 2023 | 8:46 AM

Safai Karmachari - Representational Pic

The Bengaluru City Police have arrested two persons — including the owner of a private company — and booked them for criminal negligence after two workers were found dead under mysterious circumstances on Saturday night.

The two deceased — identified as Ravi Kumar (39) and Dilip Kumar Jena (24) — were working at a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) of an upscale apartment on the Kanakapura Road near Konanakunte in South Bengaluru.

The police suspect that they died either of electrocution or suffocation after inhaling some poisonous gases.

“We are awaiting the post-mortem report to ascertain the exact cause of death,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Division) P Krishnakant.

The police action

The incident occurred at the sewage water treatment plant at the Prestige Falcon City Apartments on Kanakapura Road in Anjanadri Layout of South Bengaluru.

The Konanakunte police have registered a case of criminal negligence against five accused persons.

They have been identified as BioCentra India Inc owner Mukhtar Ahmed, two of the firm’s employees — electrical in-charge Prabhu and field officer Ramesh — and the manager and the owner of Prestige Falcon City Apartments.

Of them, Mukhtar Ahmed and Ramesh Kumar have been arrested, the police confirmed.

Both the deceased men were employees of BioCentra India Inc and were deployed for work at the sewage water treatment plant of the Prestige Falcon City Apartment on Saturday, 4 February.

Ravi Kumar was a native of Koratagere in the Tumakuru district, and Dilip Kumar Jana was from Odisha, the police said.

Preliminary inquiries revealed that the incident happened between 7 pm and 8 pm on Saturday, and the police were alerted about the deaths at around 10 pm.

The two were working the second shift — from 2 pm to 8 pm.

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The incident

A senior police officer said the duo had fallen to death outside the STP.

“We are not clear what exactly caused their death. There were electrical switchboards, a transformer, and a generator near the STP, but there was no incident of a fire or smoke. And there were no signs of any burns or exit or entry wounds on their bodies,” the officer added.

According to the police, the duo had been doing STP work for over eight years.

People at the spot told the police that they might have died due to either electrocution or suffocation.

A field officer from their company visited the apartment and inspected the work around 5.30 pm.

Later, he tried reaching the workers over the phone to give some instructions, but the calls went unanswered.

The field officer then alerted the security guards of the apartment around 7.45 pm. The guards went to check on the two persons, and found them unresponsive.

Also read: Manual scavenging deaths of Dalits a problem in TN

Wife of deceased lodges complaint

According to the complaint filed by the deceased Ravi Kumar’s wife Shashikala, she was informed about her husband’s death around 9 pm by one Ramesh Kumar, the supervisor and field officer of BioCentra India; he informed her that her husband and his colleague had died at work.

Shashikala, who was at her native place in Tumakuru, rushed to the spot at midnight and found the duo dead near the STP of the apartment.

Based on her complaint, BioCentra India owner Mukhtar Ahmed was named the prime accused and was arrested along with the field officer, Ramesh Kumar, the police said.

The Konankunte police said they had registered a case under IPC Section 304 (criminal negligence causing accidental death) in this regard and were investigating further.

The bodies were handed over to the respective family members after post-mortem examinations were completed on Sunday.

Maitreyi Krishnan, an advocate and activist, informed the Safai Karmachari Commission in the state about the deaths of the workers. Members from the commission were visiting the spot to conduct their inquiries.

“We are not sure if the workers at the STP were using mechanised cleaning equipment. The police have also not invoked sections under the Manual Scavenging Act, and we are inquiring into how the incident happened,” Maitreyi Krishnan told South First.