Indictments in Mud Fiasco Case ‘Close’

JAKARTA ~ Police said this week they had completed work that will allow an indictment process to begin for three suspects accused of negligence that caused a massive mud spill in East Java.

“Today (Monday) we submitted three files to the prosecutor’s office so that they can prepare the indictments,” East Java police spokesman Wijaya Purbaya said, declining to identify the trio.

He said that the files of two more suspects would be handed over to the same office on Tuesday, while the file of a sixth was still being readied.

Police have so far declared 12 people as suspects, including top executives of local firm Lapindo Brantas and their subcontractors, who together were responsible for drilling at an exploratory gas well where the spill began.

The so-called “mud volcano” began erupting in East Java’s Sidoarjo district in May, inundating more than 400 hectares of land and forcing about 12,000 people to flee their homes.

A system of dykes is holding back the steaming mud, which continues to bubble from the earth at a rate of some 120,000 cubic meters each day.

Experts have been working around the clock to channel the mud to the nearby sea amid fears that the impending monsoon may cause the dykes to collapse.

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