Mumbai: Three officials of barge company held for not discharging duty properly | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Yellow Gate police, probing the sinking of barge Paapa 305 (P305) during Cyclone Tauktae, on Friday arrested three persons, including the director of Paapa Shipping Co Pvt Ltd, for not discharging their duty properly.
As many as 261 crew were onboard when the barge began sinking on May 16 in the Arabian Sea. While most were rescued by INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, 71 died. “Eight employees of P305 are still missing,” said a source.
Those arrested were Nallasopara resident Nitin Sinha (32), a director at Paapa Shipping, Akhileshwar Tiwari (49), technical superintendent, and Prasad Rane (46), manager. The three were arrested for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Esplanade court remanded them to police custody till July 8.
Yellow Gate police, a Mumbai Port zone police station, has its jurisdiction up to 200 nautical miles at sea. Its jurisdiction is spread up to Daman on the west coast, to Sawantwadi (Ratnagiri). While its sanctioned required staff strength is 692 personnel, the police station has only 150 personnel.
Police had registered an FIR on May 20 against P305’s captain, Rakesh Ballav, and several others for capable homicide not amounting to murder. Ballav had died in the mishap and his body was claimed by relatives three weeks later.
Paapa 305 was anchored near a rig in Heera oil fields, around 35 nautical miles west of Mumbai. Police said it was owned by Durmast Enterprises Ltd, and leased to Afcons Infrastructure for work at ONGC. Afcons had entered into agreements with companies and arranged for accommodation for the employees at P305. Paapa Shipping was the technical manager of P305 barge.
Coastal police stations in Maharashtra, Goa, Daman and Gujarat have been told to search for missing personnel, Mumbai Police said.
Complainant Mustafizur Shaikh, a survivor and chief engineer, had alleged that he had repeatedly requested the captain to give a distress call signal but Ballav delayed it for more than 10 hours. Many crew jumped into the sea. Investigators, who recorded statements of survivors, said at 11.30pm on May 16, the barge began drifting during the cyclone. It sank by May 17 evening. Police investigated 63 accidental death cases connected to the incident.
Investigations found that Ballav had on May 14 sent a WhatsApp message to his company that they had moved the barge 175 meters away from the platform, and it was safe, said a police officer.
Investigators collected emails from the barge to base office after May 14, and WhatsApp messages, survey reports of the barge when it left Mumbai in September last year. Police also sought satellite phone details from the company.

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