Dhaka: Owners of a Bangladesh garment factory were denied bail on Sunday after surrendering to a court which sought their arrest over the country’s worst industrial fire that killed 111 workers.

Jail time: If convicted, Delwar Hossain, the owner of the garment factory, will face a maximum sentence of life in prison. Hossain is probably the first owner who has been charged over a fire in the factory. The blaze was considered the country’s deadliest, killing over 100 people. File Pics/AFP

Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter handed themselves in to the magistrates court almost six weeks after it issued warrants for their arrest over the 2012 blaze that gutted the Tazreen factory.

“The court rejected their bail prayers and sent them to jail,” said prosecutor Anwarul Kabir, as more than 100 people protested outside the court to demand the couple’s conviction.

Although warrants were issued on December 31, police have not arrested Hossain and Akter who have been charged over the tragedy at the factory where workers stitched clothes for Western retailers including Walmart.

It was not clear why the couple, who have been been living freely in Dhaka despite the warrants, decided to give themselves up to the court on Sunday.

The pair are among 13 people, including factory managers and security guards, charged with arson, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and death by negligence over the tragedy.

All face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. Hossain has been accused of breaching construction rules including building unsafe and narrow staircases.