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Visakhapatnam gas leak case: LG Polymers CEO, 11 others arrested

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Visakhapatnam gas leak case: LG Polymers CEO, 11 others arrested
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Vishakhapatnam:  Police on Tuesday night arrested the CEO of LG Polymers and its two directors, besides nine other company officials in connection with the May 7 styrene vapour leak incident at Visakhapatnam, in which 12 people were killed and 585 fell sick.

The Pollution Control Board also suspended three of its officials for "gross negligence." Visakhapatnam Commissioner of Police R K Meena told PTI that LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO Sunkey Jeong, Technical Director D S Kim and Operations Additional Director P Purnachandra Mohan Rao were arrested, along with nine other staffers of the firm.

"Investigation disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to the negligence of these persons, who also have knowledge that their acts were likely to cause death," the Commissioner of Police said. He said the case was still under investigation as reports from various departments have to be obtained and witnesses examined.

The Gopalapatnam police under Visakhapatnam Police Commissionerate registered a case on May 7 against LG Polymers at R R Venkatapuram, under various IPC Sections, including 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health). Exactly two months later, the arrests were made.

The styrene vapour leak incident left 12 people dead and 585 sick on May 7 at R R Venkatapuram and surrounding villages near Visakhapatnam. The High Powered Committee, appointed by the state government to probe the vapour leak, submitted its report to Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday, blaming multiple inadequacies on the part of LG and slackness of management over poor safety protocols and total breakdown of the emergency response procedures in the plant that resulted in the grave tragedy.

It also pointed out the oversight on part of different government departments, primarily the Directorate of Factories, that contributed to the tragedy. Based on the HPC report, the Pollution Control Board placed its Environmental Engineers P Prasada Rao (regional office) and R Lakshmi Narayana (zonal office) under suspension for gross negligence in allowing the operation and expansion of LG Polymers without environmental clearance.

The Director of Factories suspended Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories K B S Prasad over his lapses and failures in enforcement of Factories Act and other rules in LG Polymers.

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