Final forensic report disputes SIT’s short circuit theory in the Secretariat fire incident

While the Special Team released a graphical video showing how the short circuit started the fire, the forensic report disputes the claim and says that two alcohol bottles were found at the location
Final forensic report disputes SIT’s short circuit theory in the Secretariat fire incident

Submitting their final report with the Chief Judicial Magistrate, the Kerala Forensic Department disagrees with the Special Investigation Team’s theory that the Secretariat fire was caused by short circuit. The chemistry division stated that they found two bottles with alcohol in them nearby the scene of the fire, and the physics division resubmitted their report that no evidence of short circuit was found.

In their probe, the physics division investigated the wall-mounted fan, the alleged source of fire, and the broken wires and burnt parts. However, the team found no evidence of short circuit and mentioned it in their initial report. The Court had asked them for further investigation when the SIT, Fire Force, Electrical Inspectorate and others echoed the short circuit narrative. After which, the physics division probed the fan and its burnt parts while the chemistry division looked for possible accelerants such as petrol and kerosene. However, the latter found alcohol instead.

Meanwhile, the SIT, led by ADGP Manoj Abraham, has released a graphical video on Monday explaining how the wall-mounted fan caused the fire. The police said that the overheating motor resulted in the fire due to poor insulation. This created a spark, and the fire spread since it was on rotation mode. This statement from the police has caused a conflict between the investigation report and the forensic report.

Over 4,000 files and over 10,000 pages were gutted in the fire on August 25 at the protocol division of the General Administration Department in the Secretariat. This was at a time when the department was under the scanner in the gold smuggling case. There were speculations that the protocol officials made lapses while dealing with the diplomatic baggage heading for UAE Consulate in Thiruvananthapuram. On the day of the fire, only a few employees remained due to the pandemic, but quick action from the officers helped douse the fire in 15 minutes. The fire still burned a lot of files, but the authorities have noted that the same files are available in the server as e-copies.

Soon after the initial forensic report disputed the short circuit, one of the IGs allegedly contacted a senior forensic official and told him that a report contradicting a common claim could discredit the state government. Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala also made a similar allegation during the time.

The NationWide