The West Bengal Police has filed a case of 'attempt to commit culpable homicide' against the organisers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public rally at Midnapore, and against the outfit that put up the shamiana or makeshift tent that collapsed at the rally on Monday.
Around 90 people suffered injuries in the shamiana collapse and the chaos that followed. At least one of them is in serious condition and has been sent from Midnapore to a hospital in Kolkata.
The BJP launched an immediate counter-attack. Tuesday night, party chief Amit Shah called state chief Dilip Ghosh for an update. On Monday, Mr Ghosh had blamed excessive rains for the shamiana collapse. But after senior officers in charge of prime minister's security rushed from Delhi to Midnapore today and the police filed the case, the BJP hardened its stand.
"District officials were present when the shamiana was put up. Why didn't they object if they found lapses?" Mr Sayantan Basu, state leader, said at a press meet in Kolkata.
"Where was the district police chief during the PM speech? Why didn't he take calls from the PM's SPG after the collapse? Why did the police almost launch a lathicharge after the collapse?" Mr Basu said.
The BJP's response was also triggered by a report by the State Forensic Laboratory which completely absolved the state police of any blame for Monday's near disaster.
According to sources, the State Forensic report says:
No negligence by state
The venue had gone under SPG control seven days before rally
SPG did not consult state police
Not a case of negligence
The ground was soggy at many places
Water had collected on top of the shamiana at some places (increasing the weight)
Late Tuesday, the police sealed off the venue with the collapsed shamiana still lying on the ground and beneath it the mangled iron scaffolding. Several eyewitness claimed the iron scaffolding had not been dug down deep into the earth, bolts were missing - instead of four, just two bolts were used in many of the base plates of the scaffolding and some of the iron rods were rusted.
The BJP, however, claimed that the shamiana contractor was empaneled by the state government and had worked with them many times before Monday.
Trinamool leader and minister Jyotipriya Mallik hit back at the BJP saying, "The PM was talking about syndicates and cut money. They should find out if the state BJP leaders took cut money from the shamiana contractor themselves."
The BJP also claimed that several party workers had been arrested for allegedly thrashing the police. "We don't support beating cops but people are angry with the police ever since the panchayat polls because police are behaving like Trinamool cadre," Sayantan Basu said.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.