KARACHI, Sept 20: Three gatekeepers of the Baldia garment factory were remanded in police custody on Thursday till Sept 25 by a magistrate while the police replaced the investigating officer of the case.
The three suspects — Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmood and Ali Mohammad — were produced in the court of a judicial magistrate (west) and the investigating officer, Jahanzab, who took over the investigation from Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal, said that the gatekeepers of the industrial unit, where over 250 workers were killed in a fire tragedy, were apprehended in different parts of the city.
The IO contended that during the initial interrogation the suspects admitted that they had locked the gates of the factory on the directive of the management of the factory as salaries of workers were being distributed at the production unit on the day of the incident.
The IO sought the custody of the suspects for further interrogation.
Judicial Magistrate Sohail Ahmed Mashori handed them over to the police on five-day physical remand and directed the IO to produce them along with a progress report on investigation on next hearing.
A deadly fire gutted the multi-storey factory building on the evening of Sept 11 in Baldia Town within the remit of the Site-B police station and left over 250 workers dead.
A case (FIR No.343/12) was registered against the factory owners and others under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 322 (manslaughter), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage, etc), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc), 337 (Shajjah) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Site-B police station.
On Sept 14, a single bench of the Larkana circuit of the Sindh High Court granted seven-day protective bail to the owner of the factory, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons — Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila.