Titas in its probe report made the mosque management committee responsible for the deadly explosion
- The mosque had two power connections, one of those was illegal
- Gas line underneath the mosque got damaged during construction
- Land development for the construction was inappropriate
- Mosque was built without required approvals
- The management committee responsible for the blast
A probe report of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited gives an impression that the Narayanganj mosque explosion was just waiting to happen as all the hazardous elements required for the deadly blast were there.
Gas accumulated inside the mosque from adjacent illegal connections and the damaged line beneath the mosque. And a spark from the illegal power connection to the mosque caused the explosion which claimed 31 lives and injured many.
The findings came out Thursday in the probe report of Titas. Titas in the report said Baitul Salah Jame Mosque located at Narayanganj Sadar upazila was also built without permission from the concerned authorities including the city corporation.
Titas in the report held the mosque management committee responsible for the explosion.
At a press briefing at the secretariat Thursday, Titas probe committee Convener Abdul Wahab Talukder, also the general manager of the gas distributor, said, "The mosque committee is responsible for the blast as they took illegal power line. They also damaged the gas line during the construction of the building."
"The blast took place from the spark of the electric line when the muezzin went to change over the switch," he added.
The mosque management committee Chairman Abdul Gafur, however, rejected the statement of the investigation committee.
On September 4, worshippers congregated at the mosque to perform Isha prayers. However, in a devastating turn of events, multiple near-simultaneous blasts ripped through the two-storey building, leaving 31 people dead and scores wounded.
Inquiries into the incident were launched subsequently and Titas dug the surrounding areas of the establishment to check the gas lines.
Titas said it has a three-dimeter gas distribution line on the north side of the mosque from where it distributes gas to households.
However, two consumers named Sawkat Ali and Md Bareq Dewan took gas connections bypassing the technical process for the gas riser replacement.
The visible part of the riser was cut off to hide illegal the connection, reads the probe report.
Gas line got leaked during mosque construction
The investigation report said mechanical damage to the gas pipeline occurred during the construction of the north baseline column of the mosque.
Titas claimed the mosque committee neither repaired the damaged line, nor informed Titas for its maintenance.
Meanwhile, the construction work of the mosque including sand compaction beneath the ground was inappropriate, it said.
As a result, the report said, leaked gas could accumulate inside the mosque from the illegal lines and damaged points of gas line underneath the mosque.
Illegal electricity line to the mosque
Earlier, Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) cleared that the mosque had two electricity supply lines and one of those was illegal.
Setting up an electricity distribution board (DB) near the air conditioner (AC) is unsafe.
Titas probe report said open electricity cut-out, switch change over and meter-less single phase illegal electric line was found outside the DB.
The report noted that the blast might have taken place from the electric spark when the muezzin changed the feeder by replacing the electric transfer switch.
The Titas investigation report also claimed that the allegation against the distributor on demanding Tk50,000 bribe for repairing the damaged line was not true.
"Titas said they did not receive any such complaint. The mosque committee also did not file any complaint against any Titas employee. Even after that, Titas asked the mosque committee to give the names who allegedly demanded the bribe," the probe committee convener Abdul Wahab said.
The committee submitted the report to State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid at the Secretariat.
Among others, Anisur Rahman, senior secretary of the Energy and Mineral Division; Abdul Fattah, chairman of Petrobangla and Ali Mohammad Al-Mamun, managing director of Titas were present at the briefing.