It has been a year since the Churihatta fire tragedy in old Dhaka's Chawkbazar claimed 71 lives but police are yet to include the perfume warehouse owners in the case.
Also, investigators are still unaware of the warehouse owners' whereabouts.
Muntasirul Islam, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Lalbagh division, declined to comment on why the warehouse owners were not included in the first information report and the case.
Even though the fire originated in the warehouse located on the second floor of Wahed Mansion, it was not mentioned in the first information report.
Meanwhile, the investigation in the case is not over, and the charge-sheet has not been submitted.
Inspector (investigation) of Chawkbazar Police Station Kabir Hossain Howlader, who is the current investigating officer of the case, said, "As far as I know, the warehouse owners came from India's Marwari community. They have no permanent address and trade licence in Bangladesh. So, their whereabouts could not be ascertained.
"Despite this, a concerted effort is underway to track them down," he added.
After the incident, the warehouse owners – Mohammad Kashif, executive director of the company, and two other directors Imtiaz Ahmed and Mozammel Iqbal – went into hiding. They also closed their offices in Moulvibazar and the capital's Hatirpool.
This correspondent visited the two offices but found those padlocked.
On February 20 last year, 71 people were killed and dozens others were injured in the fire that broke out from Wahed Mansion's second floor used for storing chemicals. The fire quickly spread to the surrounding areas.
Late Hazi Wahed owns the building.
Explosions of cylinders of CNG-run vehicles parked in the area as well as chemical and scented plastic warehouses in the building quickly turned the fire into a blaze.
Probe committees formed by the fire service, Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Explosives, Dhaka South City Corporation and the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh investigated the incident.
After talking to victims and witnesses and analysing the evidence collected from the spot, the probe bodies submitted their reports.
All the reports mentioned that the fire originated in the perfume warehouse on the second floor of the building.
Moradul Islam, the first investigating officer of the case, said the first information report mentioned that the fire originated from the explosion of a private car cylinder and from buildings 1 and 9.
"Two sons of the owner of Wahed Mansion – Hasan and Sohail alias Shaheed – do not own any of those buildings. That is why they were given bail," he said.
A day after the incident, Asif, son of Jumman who was killed in the fire, filed a case with Chawkbazar Police Station accusing 12 people, including Hasan and Sohail, on charges of loss of lives and assets due to negligence.
Asif told The Business Standard he wrote the first information report based on suggestions made by the police.
"I did not know who owns the building and the warehouse. But I want whoever is responsible for the incident to be punished," he added.
According to the case statement, Hasan and Sohail rented several floors of the building to traders to be used as chemical warehouses but were unaware of the risks such facilities posed to human lives.
Elias Hossain, assistant commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Chawkbazar zone, told The Business Standard the charge-sheet would be submitted to court once the probe is completed.