A Dhaka court framed charges against 13 people including Tazreen Fashions Managing Director (MD) in two cases filed over the devastating fire at the factory that killed 112 workers and injured over 200 others in 2012. The factory was at Nischintapr in Ashulia area on the outskirts of the capital and the incident happened on November 24 of the year.
Judge SM Kuddus Zaman of the District and Sessions Judge’s Court of framed the charges rejecting the discharge petition of the accused on Thursday afternoon. The court also fixed October 1 to begin the trial with recording the depositions of the witnesses.
The thirteen accused persons are: owner and also the MD Delwar Hossain, his wife Mahmuda Akhtar Mita, Factory Manager Abdur Razzak, Quality Manager Shahiduzzaman Dulal, Production Manager Mobaarak Hossain Monju, Manager (Admn) Md Dulal Uddin, Engineer Mahbul Morshed, Store-in-Charges Hamidul Islam and Md Al Amin, Security-in-Charges Al Amin and Anisur Rahman, Security Guard Md Rana and Loader Shamim Mia.
Framing the charges, the court sent the case documents to the First Additional District and Sessions Judge Court for trial.
The incident, the worst industrial fire in the history of the country, happened on November 24, 2012.
On December 22, 2013, CID Inspector AKM Mohsinuzzaman Khan, and also Investigation Officer of the cases, submitted homicide charges with the court against the 13 accused.
According to the charge sheet, Delwar and Mahmuda had constructed the building following a defective plan with the help of the accused engineer and illegally used the ground-floor walkway as a warehouse. There was no fire exit in the factory, though Labour Law of the country stipulates that there must be two exits in every factory.
The factory was built a mile away from the main road, making it very difficult for fire fighters to reach the factory compound through their vehicles.
The practical scenario was quite difficult, as the fire alarms went off as soon as the fire broke out, and the panicked workers tried to leave the factory before the fire spread. But the accused managers and security guards told them it was nothing serious and they insisted the workers to go back to their work immediately, even though smoke was billowing from the spot after it had already started burning, the charge sheet noted.
After the devastating incident, two cases were filed, of which the police filed one with Ashulia Police Station, accusing 15 staff members for the murder on November 25, that happened because of negligence. Later, the case was transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
The second case was lodged against Tazreen owners Delwar and his wife, and 29 other staff of the factory on May 29 with the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Dhaka by Abdul Matin, brother of missing victim Rehan.
On December 22, last year, police submitted a charge sheet against 13 people, including Delwar for the devastating fire in the garment factory.
On February 9, last year, a Dhaka court sent MD Delwar and Chairman of the company Mahmuda Akhter Mita to jail rejecting their bail petitions. However, the following day, the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Dhaka granted bail to Mita and she was released from the Central Jail the following day.
Later, on March 20, the District and Sessions Judge’s Court of Dhaka cancelled her bail and asked her to surrender to the court with 15 days. On April 10, last year, a Dhaka court granted bail to Mita after her lawyers pleaded that she is just the ‘titular’ Chairman of the factory that saw a deadly fire.