The MCD’s chief vigilance officer has submitted his report on the Lalita Park building collapse to the municipal commissioner KS Mehra.
As per the report, five MCD officials—an assistant engineer (AE), a junior engineer (JE), two licensing inspectors and a house tax inspector of the MCD — have been suspended for dereliction of duty. The November 15 building collapse had left 70 dead and 80 injured.
However, vigilance department sources said, a detailed investigation will be conducted and more officers will face action. One of the five suspended officers, licensing inspector Vimal Sharma, is dead, so no action can be taken against him.
“After the investigation is complete, services of these officials—Rakesh Kumar (AE), CP Singh (JE), house tax inspector RK Bansal and licensing inspector Ram Das—may be terminated. Also, a thorough investigation will be conducted and more officers may be suspended,” said a senior MCD official.
As per the report, the building owner had illegally built the fourth and fifth floors in 2004-05. As the building was never booked for any illegal construction, the vigilance department had to check the building’s electricity and water records.
“We also used information from the Survey of India. We have suspended the licensing inspectors and tax inspectors as a factory was also running inside the building without a licence. If commercial activity was being carried out, commercial tax should have been collected,” said the official.
The BJP-led MCD is now blaming the Congress for the collapse. “The Congress was ruling the MCD at that time and it must explain how the illegal construction took place,” said Yogender Chandolia, MCD standing committee chairman.
Vigilance department sources say, action has been taken against the officials as they failed to report the illegal construction. “The zonal deputy commissioner (DC) performs many tasks and can’t be held responsible for not doing site inspections. That is the inspectors’ task. The issue of illegal construction was never brought to the DC’s notice,” the official said.
The vigilance department is yet to record the statements of the suspended MCD officials.