Tinsukia: The police have arrested Pani Ram Kalita, owner of the ill-fated ferry “Ma Kamala” that was involved in the accident at Nimati Ghat that claimed the lives of two people, from Dibrugarh on Monday. One passenger, a doctor from Johrat, is still missing.
The total number of people arrested in the case now stands at 12.
On Thursday, a day after the tragedy, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had directed Jorhat Police to register a criminal case into the accident.
Confirming the development, Johrat Superintendent of Police Ankur Jain said, “We located the movement of the accused in Dibrugarh and passed on the information to our Dibrugarh counterpart. A police team arrested him and handed him over to Jorhat Police. The accused is being brought back to Jorhat for interrogation.”
“Out of the 12 arrested so far, six are government employees (permanent and temporary), directly or indirectly involved in the operation of ferry at Nimati Ghat,” the SP added.
Additional Director General of Police GP Singh tweeted, “Reference Nimatighat Ferry accident – The owner of the boat involved in disaster, Sri Pani Ram Kalita has been arrested by @dibrugarhpolice while he was trying for admission to a hospital. Follow up investigation would be done by @Jorhat_Police @assampolice @CMOfficeAssam”
On Saturday night, Jorhat Police had arrested seven persons and, later, Majuli Police arrested four more people involved in the case. They were then handed over to Jorhat Police.
A private ferry named “Ma Kamala” heading to Majuli from Nimati Ghat had collided with a ferry “MB Tipkai” – operated by state’s IWT department – coming from the riverine island on September 8. The accident claimed the life of a 30-year of woman teacher. Three days later, the body of the second victim, Indreshwar Bora, a teacher of Rajgarh High School, was recovered from Bhasa Tapu near Umatumuni Island of Biswanath, 100 kms downstream. The ferry was carrying 92 passengers out of which 89 of them were rescued.
A doctor from Johrat, who was a passenger, is still missing. Search and rescue operations for the missing person by a team of NDRF and SDRF is underway.
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