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Shiv Sena Leader Arrested for Mumbai Building Collapse That Killed 17

Residents of the building had alleged that the tragedy struck due to the renovation work being carried out in a nursing home on the ground floor, owned by Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap.

Aritra Hazra | CNN-News18

Updated:July 26, 2017, 3:04 PM IST
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New Delhi: Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap was arrested on Wednesday by Mumbai Police and was booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and endangering lives of others, after a four-storey building collapsed in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, killing 17 people.

Joint Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, said that initial reports suggest that the accused was carrying out illegal renovation in the building. "An investigation to this effect is underway."

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has ordered an inquiry into the matter. This came after residents of the building had alleged that tragedy struck due to renovation work being carried out in a nursing home on the ground floor, owned by Shitap.

"There was a renovation work being carried out in the building. There was a nursing home, named Shitap Nursing Home, on the ground floor of the building which is owned by Sunil Shitap. A meeting of residents was also called on Monday night opposing this renovation work," news agency ANI quoted a resident as saying.

Fadnavis visited the collapse site on Tuesday evening. “Police are investigating the matter and BMC will also investigate and submit its report within 15 days. The government will take stringent action against culprits,” he said.

Civic officials said that four women and an infant were among those killed. (Photo: Manish Dubey/ Network18) Civic officials said that four women and an infant were among those killed. (Photo: Manish Dubey/ Network18)

Congress leader Praveen Chheda, the former MLA from this constituency, has said that the onus of compensating for the mishap lies on Shitap.

“Property belongs to Shitap. He was running a hospital on the ground floor and was now going to run a guest house. The onus lies on him,” he said.

BMC officials are yet to ascertain the reason of collapse, though.



Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant told CNN-News18 that he didn't know what exactly happened, calling the incident saddening. When told about the allegations that the tragedy befell the building because of the renovation work on the ground floor, he said: "We cannot leave anyone... it's a heinous offence. An inquiry has to be set up." He further added that Shitap had never been an office bearer in the party.

Rescue Operations

Civic officials said that four women and an infant were among those killed. Eleven people were injured and 30 have been extricated from the rubble so far. The injured have been admitted to various hospitals in the neighbourhood, said Mahesh Narvekar, the chief of BMC’s Disaster Management cell.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been pressed into service to rescue those trapped under the rubble. The Mumbai Police cordoned off the area while traffic was blocked on the Lal Bhadur Shastri road to provide a 'green corridor' to rush those rescued to hospitals.

The structure, which came down on Tuesday morning at Ghatkopar's Damodar Park area, housed around 15 families. “About 75 per cent of the debris has been removed and a search operation is underway to find if anyone is still trapped under the rubble,” said officials.

Eleven people were injured and 30 have been extricated from the rubble so far. Eleven people were injured and 30 have been extricated from the rubble so far. (Photo: Manish Dubey/ Network18)

The civic body's control room had received a call around 10.45 am about the accident, a BMC official said. Fire engines, a rescue van and ambulances were rushed to the spot immediately.

Cries of help

According to a local, it was a 35-year-old structure. The city and its suburbs received heavy rains over the last several days. The building was not listed among those in dangerous category, as per local residents.

In the morning, eyewitnesses said, they heard a loud sound, similar to that of lightning as the building came down in a massive heap of rubble. “When I came out of my building, I found a lot of dust and cries of people seeking help. I saw parts of the building collapse,” an eyewitness said.

According to a written reply by the government in the assembly about unsafe buildings in the metropolis, a survey by the BMC earlier this year had identified 617 such structures. These buildings were termed as "dilapidated" in the survey report. The BMC has initiated action on the report under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888.

In all, 112 such buildings were vacated, while 42 were referred to the technical advisory committee to decide their fate.

The BMC has also submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court regarding 45 buildings identified as dangerous for habitation where people continue to live. ​

| Edited by: Swati Sharma
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