One of the four owners of the MV Abhijan-10 launch has been arrested from Dhaka's Keraniganj, in connection with the deadly fire incident on Friday that left 41 people dead and many more injured.
Owner Hamjalal Sheikh was arrested on Sunday morning, a day after arrest warrants were issued against eight people including four owners of the launch MV Abhijan-10, confirmed RAB's Legal and Media wing Director Commander Khandaker Al Moin.
Special Metropolitan Magistrate Joynab Begum of Marine Court issued the order following a case filed over the incident on Sunday (26 December).
According to the case statement, the accused in the case are the four owners of the launch company Messer's Al Araf & Company – Hamzalal Sheikh, Md Shamim Ahmed, Md Russell Ahmed and Ferdous Hasan Rabbi; the Master-in-Charge of the launch Md Riaz Sikder; Driver-in-Charge Md Masum Billah; Second Master Md Khalilur Rahman, and Second Driver Abul Kalam.
Chief Inspector of the Department of Shipping, Md Shafiqur Rahman, filed the case under the Inland Shipping Ordinance (ISO), 1976.
Sources at the Department of Shipping said that the launch's fitness certificate, registration and master-driver's certificate will be suspended on Sunday as per the law.
The case statement mentioned that there was a lack of adequate fire extinguishers, lifebuoys, sandboxes, and buckets in the launch and that there were many unofficially-kept diesel-carrying drums and cylinder gas cookers for cooking, which goes against sections 56, 66, 69, and 70 of the ISO'76 act and its 2005-amendment.
The charges were filed after the preliminary investigation report was submitted by the shipping department's Barishal inspector.
A supplementary application will be filed after the probe body, formed for this incident, submits its report.
On Sunday, Tofayel Ahamed, the head of the probe committee formed by the shipping ministry, told reporters, "We have primarily found some faults in the engine and assumed that the faults might have led to the fire which later spread all over the launch within a short time."
The committee also began recording accounts by relatives of the victims and eyewitnesses on Sunday morning at Barguna Circuit House.
The incident took place as a huge fire broke out at 3am on Friday on the Barguna-bound launch carrying some "1,000" passengers from Dhaka and it engulfed the entire vessel within 10 minutes.
The death toll from the fire incident climbed to 41 on Saturday night. Besides, over 70 people suffered injuries and many are still missing.
Earlier this morning, body of one of the victims was found floating in the river, half a kilometre away from the incident location.
The number of missing people rose to 44, according to information by the Barguna and Jhalakathi district administrations.