Arrested builders Salim Shaikh and Jamaal Qureshi will reportedly be presented in a local court today. NCP corporator Hira Patil and three others have been arrested so far over the Thane buiding collapse that killed 75 people.
Thane police commissioner KP Raghuvanshi confirmed they have arrested builders Salim Shaikh and Jamaal Qureshi. While Qureshi was caught from Uttar Pradesh, Shaikh was arrested from Thane.
"The two will be interrogated to get leads on the other accused in the case," Raghuvanshi said.
Suspended Deputy Municipal Commissioner Deepak Chavan was arrested in connection with the Mumbra building collapse case, police said.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Balasaheb Andhale and NCP corporator Hira Patil are among fresh arrests.
The police have registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the developers and their yet unidentified partners.
A day after senior inspector of Daighar police station K Naik was suspended, the probe in the case was handed over to the Thane crime branch which will be interrogating the arrested accused, said Ashok Dudhe, deputy police commissioner, zone 1, Thane.
A team from the Kalina forensic science laboratory also visited the spot and collected cement, brick and steel samples to check if they met the quality standards required in building construction.
An officer explained, "While there have been allegations that substandard material was used in the building's construction, we have to prove that in a court of law. And if we have to make a strong case against the accused, the FSL report becomes vital."
When contacted, an official from the FSL who visited the site said, "We have handed over the samples to the local police as per procedure. They will send it to us on Monday and we should be able to send the report back within a week."
The Thane crime branch is currently on the lookout for the other partners in the case. Additional commissioner of police, crime, Milind Bharambe said, "We have sealed the Mumbra office of the arrested duo. We are on the lookout for the other partners."
When asked if any more arrests are likely, Bharambe said, "Investigations are on and depending on what comes to the fore, a decision will be taken."
To know the exact reason and to confirm negligence on part of the builder, Thane municipal commissioner RA Rajiv has ordered forensic test of the material of the collapsed building.
Vikram Thomvekar, structural engineer of Con-Tech, a private firm that is conducting the survey, said their team had collected samples of steel, concrete and soil. "We will conduct some tests and submit our report in a week's time."
Building was constructed on forestland
Thane municipal officials said that the building was illegally constructed on forestland 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.
(With PTI, ANI inputs)