One more arrested for Thane disaster

Thane, April 7 (IANS) One more person was arrested Sunday for the collapse of a seven-storey building at Thane that left 74 people dead, and a court here has sent all the nine to 14 days police custody, police said.

Thane Police Commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi said that besides the crime branch, even the anti-corruption bureau is now involved in the investigations into Maharashtra’s worst-ever building crash.

The nine include Thane Municipal Corporation’s suspended deputy municipal commissioner Deepak Chavan, assistant municipal commissioner (AMC) Babasaheb Andhale, municipal corporation clerk Kiran Madke, Nationalist Congress Party corporator Hira Patil, policeman Sayyed, estate agent Jabbar Patel who also worked as ‘collector’ for Chavan. A former AMC, identified as only Thorbole, was also nabbed here in the afternoon.

Besides, two builders, Jamil Qureshi and Salim Shaikh, were arrested from Uttar Pradesh and Thane respectively Saturday.

A search of Chavan’s house by a police and an ACB team Sunday led to recovery of Rs.5 lakh in cash and some incriminating documents, Raghivanshi said.

All the arrested have been booked under the Indian Penal Code Section 304 which pertains to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Referring to the modus operandi employed by the builders, Raghuvanshi said preliminary investigations have revealed that they constructed the building using sub-standard materials.

“As soon as the floors were ready, they immediately handed them over to the buyers. Once people occupy the building, it became very difficult for the officials concerned to remove them and take action on the illegal construction,” he said.

Raghuvanshi said that the tragedy was “a colossal one”.

“Police investigations are progressing. We shall not spare anybody, whether they are government servants, officials or civilians,” he asserted.

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