In the past four years, the Delhi Police has received more than 8,000 complaints against various types of illegal construction in the city.
Most of these complaints pertained to "unsafe structures."
According to data provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Delhi Police has also registered 357 First Information Reports (FIRs) in regard to illegal constructions and action has been initiated against 533 policemen and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials for dereliction of duty and corruption.
Of all the complaints received, investigation has been completed only in 170 cases, while the police are still investigating the remaining cases.
On November 15 last year, 71 people were killed and more than 80 injured as MCD officials and police failed to take any action against the owner of an unauthorised building in Lalita Park area of east Delhi.
The owner of the building — Amrit Pal Singh — chose to add floors to the building without approval and without taking the help of an expert, risking the lives of migrant labourers living in the building.
Police said that they did not have any power to take action against unauthorised constructions.
"The Delhi Police has no powers to demolish unauthorised structures. All we can do is inform the concerned civic agency about it. The MCD
has not even acted on one per cent of the complaints forwarded to it,” said a senior police officer.
“They are supposed to intimate us about a demolition drive two days in advance, which they never do," the officer added.
The MCD said that they couldn't carry on with any demolition drive on their own as locals often beat them up when they go there to initiate action. The officer added that the police do not provide them with security whenever they are on such a drive.
"We can't risk our lives while carrying out such drives. If security is not provided to us, how can they expect us to conduct such drives?" asked the official.
The fortnight after the Lalita Park tragedy, the police with the help of MCD officials, evacuated more than 35 houses, claiming the buildings were not structurally safe.