June 29, 2022 3:33:59 pm
The Nehru Nagar police early on Wednesday registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the flat owners who had rented out their apartments in the building that collapsed in Mumbai’s Kurla (East) for doing so despite being aware that the building was dilapidated and could collapse any time.
The four storey-building in Naik Nagar cooperative housing society collapsed on Monday night, killing 19 persons, and injuring several others.
The police booked flat owners Rajni Rathod, Kishor Chavan, Balkrishna Rathod, and others under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code. A contractor identified as Dilip Vishwas, who accommodated labourers in the building, has also been named as an accused. The police applied charges under Section 308 as 15 persons were injured in the building collapse.
The four-storey building that collapsed was one of the four wings of Naik Nagar cooperative housing society. All four buildings were deemed dilapidated by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
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Rescue operations by the fire brigade and the National Disaster Response Force ended late Tuesday evening while search operations were going on till Wednesday. Out of 33 persons found so far, 19 died, 10 were discharged after treatment and four are still being treated.
The building had four one-BHK flats on every floor and the flats were either rented out or were locked. All the flats on the ground floor were locked. While two flats on the fourth floor were locked, two flats on the third and fourth floor were vacant.
While half the building collapsed along with the staircase, the rest tilted and got stuck on the debris.
Vicky Pachare, a local who was among the first respondents, said, “It was too dark and smoke was everywhere. We called our decorator and put halogen lights. We used mobile phone lights and helped rescue those stuck on the third and fourth floors till the fire brigade came.”
A resident said that all occupants were aware that the building was dilapidated and were even asked by the chairman of the society to vacate it by June 30. The occupants, many of them daily wage labourers, were scouting for a new place when the accident took place, said residents.
Former deputy municipal commissioner V V Shankarwar and former corporator Pravina Morajkar said that the buildings had been declared dilapidated in 2016 and notices had been issued asking the residents to vacate the flats. Both Shankarwar and Morajkar said that the three other buildings in the society should be immediately demolished.
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