The death toll in the east Delhi building collapse mounted to 64 on Tuesday as scores of rescue workers struggled to pull out those trapped in the debris of one of the worst such incidents in the capital.
At least 80 people were also injured when the 15-year-old building, where an illegal fifth floor was under construction, came crashing down around 8.15 pm yesterday at Lalita Park in Laxmi Nagar. Families of around 10 migrant labourers were believed to be staying in the building.
Police have registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the building owner Amrit Singh,
who is absconding. A senior police official said the case has been registered against under section 304 of Indian Penal
Singh fled along with his family soon after the four-storey building which had been rented out to the migrant labourers collapsed.
"Singh is absconding and we are searching for him," the police officials said. "Till now 64 people have been killed in the incident," Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident, Delhi government officials said. 39 bodies have been taken to Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, 16 to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, five to Hedgewar Hospital and one to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.
Rescue workers from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), fire department, police, civil defence and locals had
worked overnight to remove tons of concrete from the spot and find trapped people.
The building is suspected to have weakened due to the heavy rains during monsoon when Yamuna river flooded the area. A 250-member disaster management team has been deployed to help in rescue effort. Officials said they were unclear about the number of people still trapped in the debris.