Mumbai, Jun 7 (IANS): The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday slammed the delay by a one-man panel in probing the causes leading to the deaths of 14 people during an open-air government function in Navi Mumbai on April 16.
The committee comprises a senior IAS officer and Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Nitin Kareer which would probe the heat-stroke tragedy after the Maharashtra Bhushan Award ceremony.
It was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and an estimated 20-lakh followers of the awardee -- social worker Dattatreya Narayan Dharmadhikari, also known as Appasaheb -- in an open-to-sky ground in Kharghar in scorching temperatures.
Now, the Kareer panel has sought a month's extension to complete its probe and submit the report, said NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto.
"The Maharashtra government should keep in mind that the delay of the report will not make people forget that 14 innocent lives were lost due to insensitivity," said Crasto.
After a huge uproar by the Opposition parties like NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena (UBT) and other organisations, trips to the Raj Bhavan and protests, the state government had appointed the probe panel four days after the tragedy (April 20).
Crasto said that first, the government resolution on it was delayed, "now it's almost two months, but the report is not yet out and the panel has sought a month's extension to complete its work".
"Why? Many questions arise. How can an incumbent bureaucrat probe an issue that occurred during a government function? Why has it not been able to complete the probe within the stipulated (one month) time?" Crasto questioned.
He accused the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government of trying to bide time so that people forget the tragedy at the event held at the peak of summer resulting in the deaths due to heat-stroke.
The NCP has called upon the state government to complete the investigation without more delays and ensure accountability in the matter.