Thane building collapse: 71 dead, one builder arrested


Thane (Maharashtra): The death toll in Thursday evening's seven-storey building collapse rose to 71 on Saturday.

In an important development, one of the two accused builders has been arrested. Police have registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the two builders, Jamil Qureshi and Salim Shaikh.

Also, three officials have been suspended for not heeding complaints regarding the unauthorised structure.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Deepak Chavan and Senior Police Inspector KP Naik of Shil-Daighar Police Station and one more official have been suspended.


Disaster management and fire brigade officials continued rescue operations on Saturday, two days after the tragedy.

A Thane disaster management official said while efforts were on to rescue those trapped under the debris, many victims were yet to be identified.

"Eight to 10 victims who were critical have been shifted to hospital in Mumbai. We pulled out many children," he added.

At least 10 children succumbed to their injuries in the incident, police said.

While civic officials admitted that the building was unauthorised, they blamed the builders who went ahead with the construction despite not having relevant permissions.

When asked if the building was on forest land, a civic official confirmed the same stating that the forest department did not heed to its correspondence.

"We had written to the concerned forest official requesting him to look into the unauthorised construction of the building in October last year. We had even sent a reminder next month but did not get any response," he told a news agency.

The official said that in March, a notice was slapped on builder Adnan Seth, one of the partners in the company constructing the structure.

A forest official said that the land was privately owned and did not come under the purview of the forest department.

Civic sources also said that sub-standard material was used in construction of the building and that it had no occupancy certificate. They also hinted at the involvement of politically motivated fourth party.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister RR Patil visited the spot.

Termed as one of the worst building disasters in the state in the past decade, activists from the area said that there were scores of such building in the Mumbra-Kalyan region due to the builder-officials-police-politicians nexus.

Thane houses many heavy industries.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislator from the area Ramesh Patil alleged that the municipal commissioner did not pay heed to his complaints about the building being unauthorised and unfit for occupation.

There were around 35 families residing in the building.

Local activist Mangal Patil had also registered repeated complaints with the Thane Municipal Corporation about the unauthorised structure, but to no avail. Speaking to mediapersons, Mangal Patil claimed that there were over 100 such buildings in the area.




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