Thane: As many as 21 accused, including builders and officers of Thane Municipal Corporation, arrested in connection with the collapse of an illegal building at Mumbra, were on Thursday remanded in judicial custody till May 3. Seventy-four people were killed and scores injured when the unauthorised under-construction building located in Lucky Compound in the Thane district suburb near Shil Phata, crumbled on April 4.
The accused, including three co-owners of the construction firm, two builders, besides civic officials and NCP corporator Hira Patil (now suspended), were arrested under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and section 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The local court judge KR Warrier rejected the prosecution's demand for police custody, saying the grounds on which the prayer is made are insufficient and investigators have already recovered many things from the accused.
Assistance Commissioner of Police (Crime) Pandit Kendre told the court that police were awaiting response from the municipal corporation on the documents recovered and have already seized cash and some documents from residences of some of the accused. On the course of investigation, he said that police were in the process of establishing bank transactions of the accused.
In a separate development, Assistant Public Prosecutor Ruma Navle excused herself from the case as her husband is representing one of the accused, and was replaced by Hemlata Deshmukh. Criminal lawyer Majid Memon is among others representing different accused in the case. Police had said that the accused builders bribed public servants, including the civic authorities, police and the elected corporator, with lakhs of rupees to ensure that the construction work continued without any hindrance.