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Owner, 'Contractor' Arrested in Building Collapse

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

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Two people have been arrested in relation to a building collapse in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar neighborhood last week that killed 17 people, Parksite police say.

Sunil Shitap, who owned the bottom floor of the Siddhi Sai Apartment building, and contractor Anil Mandal were both taken into custody following the July 25 accident.

What Happened

Workers at the site told police that they were knocking down walls and pillars that morning, beginning about 9:30 a.m. local time. About an hour later, workers noticed that pillars were bending and concrete was falling apart, according to reports.

The workers rushed out of the building and began yelling to the residents in the upper floors. That was when the four-story building collapsed.

The structure housed around 15 families, as well as a nursing home on the bottom floor that was being renovated.

The National Disaster Response Force—a crew of nearly 50 workers— immediately conducted a search and rescue operation in which they rescued 12 people.

Investigation

Although the formal investigation is still underway, the collapse is believed to have been caused by Shitap’s renovation work to that ground floor.

According to police, Shitap allegedly had hired an interior designer, not a contractor, by the name of Ranjeet Agale to conduct the renovation work, which entailed opening up the three separate apartments on the first floor. Mandal, who is also allegedly not a certified contractor, was supervising the work.

Agale is still on the run, police say. Statements from the men in custody have not been reported.

Shitap is a prominent political member of the Shiv Sena party, and some accuse the party-rule Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation of intentionally ignoring complaints from other residents in the building when the renovations began.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Fatalities; Renovation

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