Six more arrested for Thane building collapse

Mumbai, April 7 (IANS) Six people have been arrested in connection with the collapse of a seven-storey building at Thane that left 74 people dead, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil said Sunday.

They included Thane Municipal Corporation’s suspended deputy municipal commissioner Deepak Chavan, assistant municipal commissioner Babasaheb Andhale, clerk Kiran Madke, municipal corporator Hira Patil and a beat police official, identified only as Sayyed.

Jabbar Patel, who worked for Chavan, has also been arrested. A former assistant municipal commissioner, identified only as Thorbole, is said to be on the run, the minister said.

The arrests Sunday were in addition to the earlier arrest of builders Jamil Qureshi and Salim Shaikh. Police are searching for another builder, Adnan Shaikh.

A day after the Thursday evening disaster, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced the suspension of Chavan and K.P. Naik, the local senior police inspector, for allegedly ignoring building law violations.

They were also accused of ignoring complaints regarding the illegal building.

On Sunday, a four-year-old miracle survivor of the Daighar building crash finally opened her eyes and cried, much to the relief of surviving relatives and siblings, doctors said.

Sandhya Thakur had been unable to open her eyes, swollen with dust and psychological trauma. She had spent several hours under the debris before rescuers dug her out.

Doctors said her vision was unharmed.

A total of 74 people died in the crash, making it the worst-ever building collapse in Maharashtra in the past decade.

Sandhya told rescuers, in broken sentences, her parents’ names. She also named her six siblings, an aunt and a grandfather.

With great difficulty, the rescuers managed to find that Kiran, Sandhya’s mother, had died in the disaster. The child’s father and some of her siblings are still missing.

Rescue operations were called off Saturday.

A woman in the neighbourhood, Joselyn, took Sandhya under her care, consoling and feeding her as efforts continued to trace her relatives.

The chief minister has ordered a probe into the tragedy, to be conducted by an additional chief secretary of the urban development department.

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