Vizag Gas leak deaths: Andhra HC orders seizure of LG Polymers premises

Vizag Gas leak deaths: Andhra HC orders seizure of LG Polymers premises
Visakhapatnam plant from where the toxic chemicals leaked.

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered that the premises of LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam be seized in the case relating to gas leakage from the plant which claimed 12 lives and affected hundreds of others on May 7.

The court, in interim orders, directed that the company shall be completely seized and no one including the Directors of the company is allowed to enter the premises.

A division bench of Chief Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Lalitha Kanneganti also directed that none of the assets, movable or immovable, fixture, machinery and contents shall be allowed to be shifted without the court's permission.

The court also ruled that if any committee wants to inspect the premises, it will be at liberty to do so but will have to put a note on the register maintained at the gate of the company regarding the said inspection and while returning, a note regarding the act done in the premises.

The court, while hearing three writ petitions, passed the interim orders on Friday but the written orders were issued on Sunday.

The bench also took serious note of the transportation of styrene monomer from the plant to South Korea. "After registration of crime, on the appointment of the investigation/inspection team and also when Magisterial enquiry was required, why, without the appointment of the said panel or permission of the Court, Styrene Monomer has been permitted to be transported to South Korea and who is the person responsible for the same," the court asked and directed the Central and state governments, various government agencies and the company to submit the compliance report by May 26.

The court, which posted the next hearing to May 28, also wanted a reply on the net worth of LG Polymers Pvt Ltd.

The high court on May 7 had suo-moto taken up the case and passed orders. Both the state and the Central governments submitted action taken reports by May 20. The court observed that the replies by the state and Central governments were silent on certain issues, which were also raised in two writ petitions filed subsequently.

The court sought an explanation from respondents on various issues including the issue that LG Polymers has been operating without a valid environmental clearance from the Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ministry. It also wanted an explanation on the point that the inhibitor concentration in the storage tank was not checked, the refrigeration system was not working properly, the radius of the vulnerable zone extended up to 6.3 km from the sources and the siren/alarm system did not function.

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