Five men were killed on Sunday afternoon after inhaling poisonous gas while cleaning a sewage treatment plant in West Delhi’s Motinagar. The four people who died in the incident were identified as Vishal, Raja, Pankaj, Umesh and Sarfaraj. The fifth labourer, Vishal, was referred to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where he died during treatment, police said.

The incident took place around 3:30pm when four men, who worked as labourers, stepped in to clean a sewage tank that was about 30 feet deep and located in basement at DLF Capital Greens, a residential complex in Motinagar.

In a statement, DLF said the services at the complex were maintained by JLL. Representatives of JLL did not respond to requests for comment.

The survivors alleged that cleaning a sewage plant was not part of their duty but they did it because they were threatened that they would be dismissed if they refused. The survivors also alleged that they were not provided with any safety masks or belts.

“JLL is known for its high quality safety standards and service. We are waiting for the detailed report. We are sure that JLL will take all measures to take care of the families that have been affected,” a statement issued by DLF said.

Monika Bhardwaj, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Delhi), said a case of causing death by negligence and under other Indian Penal Code sections will be registered at Moti Nagar police station. She said that there were “multiple” firms for whom the labourers were working. “We are still in the process of identifying those responsible for the deaths. We will make arrests after that,” said the DCP.

Earlier, a similar case was recorded on July 15, 2017 where sanitation workers died due to suffocation while cleaning a septic tank in South Delhi’s Ghitorni area.

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