Kerala Secretariat Fire: Forensic team to send samples to Centre's labs for further examination

The forensic team found no accelerants at the scene and couldn't confirm nor deny the short circuit theory due to a lack of evidence and facilities
Kerala Secretariat Fire: Forensic team to send samples to Centre's labs for further examination

The forensic department has said that they don't have the facility to confirm if the fire broke out from the fan as per the Special Investigation Team. The chemistry department of the forensics team was unable to find the presence of any accelerants in the scene, and the fire department could not confirm whether the fire originated from the apparent short circuit. The team said that the fire burnt down the fan motor and thus they couldn't check if there were any other damages.

Moreover, the examination of the wiring led to no conclusion and thus they have reached an impasse in regards to the situation. At this point, the forensic department can neither confirm nor deny the SIT's short-circuit theory. The forensic team has sought the Court's permission to send the samples to the Central forensic labs in Kochi or Bengaluru.

Around 45 samples collected by the chemistry department and 16 samples collected by the physics department were examined to identify the fire mishap's reason. However, the final forensic report completely rejects the claims of the government and police. Both the police and government had claimed earlier that a short circuit was the reason for the accident. But, following the physics department's test, it was clear that the short circuit was not the reason. Later, the police came up with another claim that the fire broke out from a fan in the Protocol Department. However, tests could not prove that claim as well.

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.

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