Stagnant water in the basement of a seven-storey building in Lalita Park, east Delhi, was not the only cause of its collapse. A water tank installed on its terrace, too, added to the danger.
The crime branch of the Delhi Police found out the owner of the building, Amritpal Singh Sachdeva, flouted all rules and had installed a huge water tank, adding to the pressure on the crumbling structure.
“No rules of structural engineering were followed and he had also installed a water tank,” said Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner of police (crime). The building, which collapsed on November 15 killing 70 people, housed daily-wage workers.
“He randomly added floors without following any rules. Even vital columns and pillars in several rooms were demolished at his will, further adding to the danger,” said a senior police officer.
Now, the crime branch, the investigative agency in the case, has seized documents pertaining to the building’s ownership, along with house-tax assessment forms. “We will use these documents as evidence against Sachdeva. The documentation is almost complete,” said a senior police officer.
Fifty-seven-year-old Sachdeva was arrested on 11 occasions earlier for selling adulterated cement. Hundreds of bags of adulterated cement were seized from him by the anti-hoarding cell then.
“He used his past experience to prepare the mix and used inferior product to construct the building,” said the officer.
The police said during their investigation have come across a nexus between Sachdeva and civic officials who turned a blind eye to the illegal construction.
“There is specific information about the role of the government and civic officials, and we would take action at appropriate time. The diary where he used to write down all his accounts related to the rent and other expenditures has also been seized from him,” said the officer.