DHAKA: Relatives of workers killed in a fire at a packaging factory in Bangladesh have filed a murder case against the owner, police said on Monday, as the death toll from the disaster rose to 31.
Another 12 people are missing after the disaster on Saturday, the worst since the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment complex in 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people.
The government has launched an investigation into what caused the fire, but police in the industrial town of Tongi, where the Tampaco Foils Limited factory was located, said bereaved relatives had already filed a private lawsuit.
“A murder case was filed by relatives of a dead worker against eight people, including the owner and his wife,” Tongi police chief Firoz Talukdar told Agence-France Presse.
Police said they would launch a separate investigation into the murder allegation made by the family. Any decision on whether to bring charges would have to be taken by a court.
Talukdar said firefighters and soldiers engaged in search and rescue efforts had dug out two more bodies, but there was little hope of finding any survivors.
Around 70 people were also injured, some critically, in the fire at the factory, which packages food and cigarette products for local and foreign brands.
The blaze is the latest in a series of deadly accidents to hit impoverished Bangladesh, whose $27-billion garment industry is the world’s second largest behind China’s.
The Rana Plaza tragedy triggered international outrage and successfully put pressure on US and European clothing brands to improve deplorable safety conditions at the factories that supply them.
The Tampaco factory supplies multinational and domestic brands including British-American Tobacco Bangladesh Limited and Nestle Bangladesh Limited, according to a company website.