SIT formed to look into theft, fire incidents at Jessop
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising 13 officers has been set up to probe into the theft of old machinery and the frequent incidents of fire at Jessop factory.
The team will be headed by Subhankar Bhattacharya, special superintendent, Criminal Investigation Department (SS, CID).
The team visited the factory in Dum Dum on Thursday evening. Four persons who were arrested on Wednesday were interrogated. The team will again visit the spot Friday morning. The team is likely to summon Pawan Ruia, owner of Jessop.
Incidents of fire have become almost a regular event at the factory which has been closed. On October 13 a bus which was parked in front of gate number 24 was gutted. Prior to that, a fire broke out on October 10. Again on October 17, a fire broke out at the factory. The state Fire and Emergency Services minister Sovan Chatterjee along with the local MLA Bratya Basu and Tanmay Roychowdhury, Commissioner, Barrackpore Commissionrate visited the spot. Chatterjee said that stern action would be taken against those involved in the matter.
The biggest question that is coming up before the SIT is what the causes are that have lead to frequent incidents of fire at the factory as there are no combustible items and the electricity connection has been put off.
Preliminary investigation revealed that machinery worth Rs 80 crore had been stolen. Despite repeated reminders, the management did not clear the bushes that had come up all over the factory.
The requests to repair the boundary wall have yielded no results. Local people alleged that the thieves enter the factory either by scaling the boundary wall or use the stretches that have been damaged. The police are investigating how the heavy machines and spares along with the factory sheds have been taken away. “It needs trucks to carry them away and we will have to find out the path which has been used as the entry and exit routes by the criminals”, a police officer said.
Local people said some criminals are thriving by selling the machinery and iron sheds as scrap. They have unleashed a reign of terror in the area and despite repeated complaints the police did not take any action.
Jessop is country’s oldest engineering factory which was started by the East India Company in 1778. The state government passed a Bill in the state Assembly to acquire Jessop but it has not got Presidential assent as yet.