Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pratibha Shipping’s Pawar brothers arrested.

Four months after the tanker ‘Pratibha Cauvery’ beached off Chennai’s Elliot’s beach, two of the directors of Pratibha Shipping have been arrested in Pune. Chennai Police confirmed that brothers Madan Anand Rao Pawar (55) and Suresh Anand Rao Pawar (53) were arrested on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Two other directors of the company are believed to have been granted anticipatory bail.

Pratibha Shipping has been widely accused of negligence that caused sailor deaths after cyclone Nilam hit the Cauvery, which had been effectively abandoned by Pratibha Shipping at Chennai outer anchorage without fuel. It became known later that the ship and its crew had spent weeks in Chennai’s outer anchorage without fuel, and had been without power for at least two days before the storm hit. 

The arrests of the Pawar brothers are widely seen as a reaction to the fact that the parents of Niranjan- one of the sailors who died on the Cauvery- committed suicide in Chennai two weeks ago. Their suicide note blamed the government, the company and the police for not taking any action even months after the incident.

Industry watchers say that little has actually be done to hold those accountable for the Cauvery tragedy in which six seafarers lost their lives. The Times of India quotes the representative of an organisation that handles the plight of sailor families: "DG Shipping and State police inquiries have been lenient with the ship owner since the beginning. Despite evidence that the owner abandoned the vessel and its 37 crew members, he was never summoned for an inquiry. At one point, they simply arrested two shipping agents," he said.  The Cauvery’s crew had spent weeks without provisions and pay before the incident.

"At least the suicide(s) has brought someone from the company before court”, another observer pointed out. “Neither DG Shipping nor the state police can take credit for that." 

Experts have pointed out that the official report of the incident has not yet been made public even after it was reportedly submitted in December, and that both the arrested directors are related to powerful Indian politician Sharad Pawar. Many other ships of Pratibha Shipping are stranded in India and abroad, with their crews in dire straits.

The Pawar brothers have been brought to Chennai on transit warrants, remanded in judicial custody and sent to Puzhal prison for fifteen days, it is believed.
Police allege that Pratibha Shipping Company and its agents, the Chennai-based Sea World Shipping and Logistics, had "knowingly failed to rectify the repairs" in the life boat which capsized when the crew tried to abandon the ship. Two officials of the agency had been arrested earlier but were later released on bail. 


1 comment:

  1. Swindler's list (India) :
    No.1 : Pratibha Shipping

    ... (to be continued)

    If only this was considered a non-bailable offence, would their arrest mount to something. Otherwise the well known trend of Indian judicial system will be followed here too.