Before being accused of negligence that led to the death of two persons in the Nagpada building collapse incident on Thursday, builder Gufran Qureshi, a partner at Sirsiwala Developers Private Limited, was booked in five offences by the Nagpada police.
The offences ranged from intimidating tenants to failing to maintain an elevator in his building, which crashed in 2015 and left two boys with broken legs.
Gufran is one of seven brothers who own Kamathipura-based realty firm Sirsiwala Developers, which has been booked for causing death due to negligence.
The police are in the process of ascertaining which of the partners were responsible in overseeing the repair and demolition of Mishra Chawl, when a part of its toilet block fell and crashed into the home of Noorbano Qureshi (70) and her granddaughter Arisha Qureshi (12) on Thursday afternoon, killing them.
The list of FIRs in which Gufran is named as an accused formed part of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2016 before the Bombay High Court by his brother Imran. In the PIL, Imran had accused his brothers of evading paying stamp duty to MHADA while acquiring properties under the guise of surrendering surplus area to the agency. The HC had dismissed the PIL while observing that Imran had made “reckless allegations backed by no evidence” and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
The list of offences showed that five years before last week’s mishap, another accident had taken place in a building owned by Sirsiwala Developers in Kamathipura. At 7.10 am on October 6, 2015, an elevator at Suleman Tower plunged eight storeys. Two school-going boys — Anwar Malik (14) and Hunzala Shaikh (8) — suffered broken legs. Both required numerous surgeries and extensive physiotherapy before they were able to walk again.
Hunzala’s father Jaffar Shaikh said that elevator car crashed to the ground before he could secure his son. “I was taking Hunzala to school that morning. There were four others in the elevator with us. The second it started to fall, I braced myself against the wall but before I could reach Hunzala, the elevator crashed. There was no emergency landing device or shock absorbers in the elevator,” he added.
Investigations had revealed that Gufran had committed a number of violations in constructing and maintaining Suleiman Tower, the police said.
In its chargesheet filed in 2016, the Nagpada police had told the court that Gufran was responsible for maintaining the building as it was not a registered society and that he would collect monthly maintenance fees of Rs 1,200 from every resident.
The police had also said that Gufran had been negligent in taking proper care of the building, for which he had also not even received an occupancy certificate at that time. He was later arrested, booked for causing hurt, and later released on bail.
The Shaikh family moved out of Suleman Tower soon after. “The only reason we were staying there was because there was a delay in receiving possession of another flat I had purchased,” said Jaffar. He later filed a suit against Gufran and Sirsiwala Developers in the HC seeking to be reimbursed for his son’s medical expenses.
“My son’s left knee was broken in the crash. Though it was surgically repaired, his left leg now grows at a strange angle. I am just grateful that he is able to walk, run and ride his bicycle now,” said Jaffar.
Gufran and his brothers are also accused of criminal intimidation, cheating and forgery by three tenants and of hatching a criminal conspiracy and wrongful restraint by a fellow developer.
Separately, Gufran was also accused of criminal intimidation by Gayasuddin Zariwala, who owns the building in Nagpada in which the victims of Thursday’s collapse of Mishra Chawl stayed. In 2014, Zariwala had filed separate complaints against Gufran’s brothers for allegedly attempting to usurp ownership of the building using forged documents.
Senior Inspector Jayprakash Bhosle of Nagpada police station said that no arrests had been made in Thursday’s incident so far….
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