BANGLADESH FACTORY EXPLOSION AFTERMATH.jpg
Firefighters try to douse flames, following a boiler explosion in a factory in Tongi, Bangladesh, 11 September 2016.
Photograph: EPA/STR

The owner of a Bangladeshi packaging plant where more than 30 people were killed in a devastating fire has apparently gone into hiding after he was sued over the incident, police said on Saturday.

Officer Feroz Talukder said his team of investigators could not find Syed Mokbul Hussain, chairman of Tampaco Foils Limited and a former lawmaker in the national parliament, at his home.

“His mobile phone has been switched off ever since the September 10 fire at the factory,” the officer told dpa by phone.

Hussain, his wife Parvin Hussain and six other managers are being sued by the relative of one of the victims, who has accused them of culpable homicide.

Talukder said the death toll in the accident had risen to 34, with six victims still unidentified.

Another 34 people were undergoing medical care at different hospitals in Dhaka.  

The four-storey factory building, located 20 kilometres north of the capital Dhaka, collapsed last Saturday hours after the fire broke out.

A boiler explosion was initially blamed for the fire but investigators are also examining whether a gas leak caused it.

“We are still waiting for the reports from the investigators to know the reason behind the accident,” said SM Alam, chief administrator of Gazipur district, who is supervising the ongoing rescue operation.

He said the owner had brought in 20 tonnes of highly inflammable chemicals only two days before the fire. “We are not sure whether the chemicals were stored with proper caution,” he added.

Around 45 out of a total of 300 employees had been working inside the factory at the time of explosion at about 6am, when workers were nearing the end of the overnight shift, said the administrator.

Passersby were also among the victims, he added.

The search operation is expected to be concluded in a week's time, said Alam.

The Tampaco Foils factory produces packaging for tobacco and other consumer products, with British American Tobacco and food giant Nestle among its clients.

More on this story

Bangladeshi factory owner sued after fire kills more than 30

The owner of a Bangladeshi packaging plant where more than 30 people were killed in a devastating fire is being sued by relatives of the victims, police said on Monday.

Related stories

Bangladeshi factory owner sued after fire kills more than 30

Boiler explosion kills 23 at Bangladeshi factory

Death toll in Bangladesh factory fire rises to 29

13 killed in Indian factory fire

Latest news

Trump administration reverses transgender bathroom protections

The Trump administration on Wednesday withdrew Obama-era guidance about the use of school and university bathrooms by transgender students, local media reported.

Several Dakota Access Pipeline protesters arrested as deadline passes

Several people at a camp protesting against a controversial oil pipeline in the US state of North Dakota were arrested Wednesday after a deadline to vacate the land passed, local media reported.

Germany deports 18 rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

A Kabul-bound plane with 18 Afghan migrants on board took off from Munich Airport late Wednesday, its passengers becoming the third group of rejected asylum seekers to be deported by German authorities back to Afghanistan.

New Romanian justice minister named after anti-corruption protests

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has named a former judge to be the country's next justice minister, after the previous office holder resigned under pressure from mass anti-corruption protests.

Le Pen's chief of staff indicted in European Parliament jobs probe

The chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for president in upcoming French elections, was indicted Wednesday over allegations of irregular reimbursements from the European Parliament, a judicial source told dpa.

Montenegrin police extradites Miodrag Jovic to Croatia

Montenegrin police reported on Wednesday that they extradited to Croatia Miodrag Jovic (48) from Glina, after whom Interpol Zagreb issued an arrest warrant.

Croatian minister attends CoMoCoSEE conference in Albania

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek participated in a third conference of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe (CoMoCoSEE) that took place in Tirana on February 21-22.

New Somali president asks al-Shabaab to surrender to 'help' country

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo asked Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab to surrender in order "to help rebuild" the conflict-ridden East African nation.

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.