Heads have begun to roll two days after an underconstruction building collapsed at Shalimar Garden in Ghazibad, killing four labourers and injuring another 14.
In a late-night decision, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered transfer of Ghaziabad Development Authority's (GDA) chief engineer Anil Garg to Gorakhpur district with immediate effect, while the authority's chairman suspended two junior engineers and ordered initiation of action against the two.
Senior GDA officials also admitted to lapses on part of the engineers and have decided to add their names to the FIR in the case once their inquiry report is ready.
Maintaining that the building collapse had nothing to do with the transfer, GDA vice-chairman Narendra Kumar Chaudhary said it was the "decision of the state government". He added that the transfer orders were received and that Garg would be relieved soon.
In a shift from their earlier stance, the authority on Monday admitted to lapses on part of their engineer posted in the Shalimar Garden area.
Chaudhary said the builder, Kranti Associates, was given permission to construct a basement of only 87 square metres but was found constructing a 433-square metre basement, clearly violating the law.
He said, "They (engineers) should have checked this violation at the outset. In fact, two notices were also sent to the builder but he did not respond. The engineers should have initiated action."
GDA officials said structural failure, improper use of basement area and use of poor-quality construction material probably resulted in the collapse.
The officials added that the approved layout plan of the building, with a total area of 860.63 square meters, allowed construction of basement, stilt floor, ground floor, first and second floor.
But they added the builder was constructing the building on a much larger area.
Also, permission was given to construct only six kitchens in the entire building. But Chaudhary said at least 16 housing units were being constructed. He said the builder had compromised on "structural safety".
"Our inquiry will bring a clearer picture in this matter," Chaudhary added.
The top officials of the builder's firm — Kranti Tiwari, her husband RP Tiwari, sons Maitrey and Kartikey and brother Arvind Sharma are still absconding.
Ghaziabad Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Raghubir Lal said that once the GDA gives the names of their erring officials, they would be booked under section 120 (b) (criminal-conspiracy).