KARACHI: Police on Wednesday produced in a local Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, the key suspect of 2012 Karachi Baldia factory fire incident who was arrested in Bangkok earlier this month.

According to our correspondent, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials and police investigators produced the accused in the ATC.

During the hearing, police sought his remand for investigation. The judge accepted police’s request and granted his physical remand till Dec 19.

He denied the charges, saying that a man Asghar Baig was involved in burning the factory.

Bhola is a former sector incharge of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and an employee of Karachi Municipal Corporation’s health department. He was detained by Bangkok police at a hotel with the help of Interpol.

The ATC had issued arrest warrants for Bhola and another MQM leader Hammad Siddiqui in the case. Both have been booked in the case.

Rehman is suspected of being part of a criminal gang that was extorting the owners of a Karachi garment factory in Baldia Town.

The gang burned down the factory when the owners refused to pay seven million baht ($200,000), he said.

The fire at the Ali Enterprises factory in September 2012, which left nearly 250 people dead, was one of Pakistan's worst industrial disasters.

A judicial probe into the blaze was damning, pointing to a lack of emergency exits, poor safety training for workers, the packing in of machinery and the failure of government inspectors to spot any of these faults.

Initially the fire was believed to be an accident. A murder case was registered against the factory owners, but it never came to trial.

Earlier this year police said that they now believed an extortion gang was behind the blaze, naming Abdul Rehman as the suspect who allegedly lit the fire.

Much of the factory's garment output went to the German company KIK, who have paid out nearly two million dollars in compensation to the victims' families.