On Tuesday evening, the Delhi Police managed to nab 65-year-old Amritpal Singh Sachdeva. The man owned the ill-fated building that collapsed in east Delhi on Monday.
Ironically, Sachdeva was released on parole just a few days ago.
Sachdeva has been arrested 21 times in the past and has got 42 cases against him. According to Delhi Police records, the accused has got cases ranging from pick pocketing to Arms Act registered against him.
He was arrested from the house of a relative in Geeta Colony on Tuesday evening where he was hiding. The police have charged him with culpable homicide not amounting murder that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The police said Sachdeva owns more than 12 properties in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida. "Four of his buildings, just like the one which collapsed, are on rent. The buildings have sweatshops, factories, manufacturing units in it as well as rooms where hundreds of the daily wage labourers stay," said a senior police officer requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Sachdeva also owns two properties in Ramesh Park. While he stays in one with his family, his mother stays in the other. The whole family had gone into hiding after the incident.
It was a hard-earned money of 600-odd daily wage earners and fruit sellers that made Sachdeva one of the wealthiest men in the area. In any given month, he earned as much as R4.5 lakh as rent.
"He charged on an average R2,500 as rent from us. We never faltered on our rent as he would immediately tell us to get out of our rooms," said Jagdish Haldar, a fruit seller.
The police have evacuated the remaining three buildings. "We had got the building next to the collapsed one evacuated in the morning due to safety reasons," said IB Rani, deputy commissioner of police (east).
The police had tagged Sachdeva and his brothers as bad characters of the area.