Thane: Two days after 72 people died and over 60 were injured in Maharashtra's worst building collapse in a decade, the police on Saturday arrested two builders, Jameel Qureshi and Saleem Shaikh, of the illegal building. While one of them was arrested from Siddharthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, the other was arrested in Thane by the Thane Crime Branch.
Earlier in the day, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) completed its 42-hour long rescue operations, while the builder, the contractor and the supervisor were charged with culpable homicide. Municipal authorities also said the adjacent buildings are now being demolished.
Thane municipal officials said that the building was illegally constructed on forest land and should have been demolished earlier. They added that complaints about the illegal building were made to the forest department but in vain.
The sub inspector of the local police station and Thane Deputy Municipal Commissioner were suspended on charges of collusion with the builders on Friday. Shockingly, Thane Municipal Commissioner has admitted on record that 90 per cent of the buildings in Mumbra area are illegal.
Municipal Commissioner RA Rajeev said the building was built on forest land and two notices were sent to the building. "We had repeatedly asked the forest department to take action. We had asked MSEB to cut electricity to the building. We have issued total notices to about 250 illegal buildings in this belt. We try forcible removal. It is not easy. Also its a congested area our equipment is unusable here," said Rajeev.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had visited the collapse site on Friday. The state government has also announced Rs 2 lakh each to the family members of those who were killed and Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured.