A set of well-maintained documents with details of payments made to various government officials was reportedly found by the Thane Police in the Kausa residence of builder Jameel Qureshi. The raids came after Qureshi was held from Uttar Pradesh on Saturday and Sheikh from Thane.
Qureshi and his partner Salim Sheikh were booked after the seven-storey structure built by them in Lucky Compound,Mumbra,collapsed on Thursday.
Those arrested based on the evidence collected from the raid during Saturday night and Sunday morning are Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Thane Municipal Corporation Deepak Chavan,Assistant Municipal Commissioner Babsaheb Andhale,TMC Senior Clerk Kisan Madke,NCP Corporator Hira Patil,Head Constable Jehangir Sayyed of Diaghar police station,building material supplier Afroze Ansari and real estate agent Sayyed Jabbar Patel.
The documents prove that the two builders paid lakhs of rupees,more than once,to civic and police officers to ignore their illegal construction. The building that collapsed was constructed in two-and-a-half to three months, said Thane Police Commissioner K P Raghuvanshi. All of them were remanded in police custody till April 20.
Our probe has thrown light on a larger racket,where flats in illegally constructed buildings are handed over to residents within days of construction. The builders would fill up the flats on each floor as soon as it was ready. It is harder for the TMC to demolish the building once it is inhabited, Raghuvanshi said.
All the accused have been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and criminal conspiracy. As there are public servants involved,the police have also invoked the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Rs 5 lakh and some property-related documents were found during a search of Chavans residence. The houses of the other accused are also being searched by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, said Raghuvanshi.
38 dead buried
38 people were buried at three cemeteries in Shilphata,Mumbra and Thane. Jamiat-e-Ulema facilitated the burials. Till Sunday evening,the NGO had helped bury 22 corpses at the Shilphata cemetery,nine in Mumbra Kausa and seven in Rabodi,Thane. There are families whose only one or two members are left. They require emotional and financial support for burials, said Hafiz Mohammad Ayub of Jamiat-e-Ulema.
Infant pulled out
A 10-month-old girl was rescued from the debris of the collapsed Mumbra building. The baby is at Kalwa Hospital. We advertised in local newspapers and pasted notices in public places in the hope of tracing her family. However,no one has come forward till now, said S K Waghchoure,Medical Superintendent at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital,Kalwa. She has suffered only minor scratches. We fed her milk & khichdi.