The Marine Court here on Sunday ordered to send the two drivers of the MV Abhijan-10 launch to jail in a case related to last month’s deadly fire that killed at least 42 passengers of the vessel.
They are - the 8th accused in the case Abul Kalam ( in-charge driver) and the 7th accused Masum Billah (2nd driver).
Earlier on December 28, the same court sent the two masters of the launch Riaz Sikder (master in charge) and the 6th accused Khalilur Rahman (2nd master) to jail when they surrendered before it.
The court was set up on the 8th floor of BIWTA Bhaban in the city’s Motijheel after the launch fire on December 24.
Sources at the court said the two drivers of the launch surrendered before Special Metropolitan Magistrate Zainab Begum on Sunday morning and applied for bail. After hearing, the court ordered to send them to jail.
Advocate Billal Hossain, prosecuting officer of the Department of Shipping, confirmed this to UNB.
He said that the overall responsibility of the engine room rests with the engine drivers. Not only did they neglect their responsibilities, their role in the aftermath of the fire was presumptuous. The fire was initially reported to have started from the engine room, he said.
If they had managed the engine room properly with perfect supervision, perhaps this horrible tragedy could have been averted, Adv Billal added.
Adv Md Jahangir Hossain argued for the defendants seeking bail.
On December 26, the chief inspector of the Department of Shipping Shafiqur Rahman filed a case against eight people, including four owners of the launch, under the Marine Act with the Marine Court. The court took cognizance of the case and issued arrest warrants against the accused.
The worst launch fire in memory occurred in the early hours of December 24 on Sugandha river off Jhalakathi town as Abhijan-10 packed with more than 800 passengers was on the way to Barguna from Dhaka.
Police received reports of 42 deaths in the incident. At least 80 people were injured and many others reported missing.