Ghatkopar building collapse probe: Structure was stable, Shiv Sena’s Sunil Shitap to blame? | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Ghatkopar building collapse probe: Structure was stable, Shiv Sena’s Sunil Shitap to blame?

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had formed a three-member committee to conduct an inquiry into the incident that killed 17 people.

mumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2017 01:35 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had formed a three-member committee to conduct an inquiry into the incident that killed 17 people. An official privy to the inquiry said  the initial findings reveal the building was not weak.
Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had formed a three-member committee to conduct an inquiry into the incident that killed 17 people. An official privy to the inquiry said the initial findings reveal the building was not weak.(AP)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is conducting an inquiry into the Ghatkopar building collapse on July 25, said prima facie the investigation reveals the structure was stable.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta had formed a three-member committee to conduct an inquiry into the incident that killed 17 people. An official privy to the inquiry said the initial findings reveal the building was not weak.

This finding will strengthen the police case registered against Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap, owner of the nursing home on the ground floor of the collapsed building. Police said Shitap and his contractor Anil Mandal were renovating three flats on the ground floor and they may have tampered with the pillars and beams, which could have led to the collapse. Both are currently in judicial custody.

For the inquiry, the civic body began by testing the debris, the soil’s load-bearing capacity, the columns according to the initial plan, to eliminate the possibility of the building being structurally weak.

A senior civic official said, “We appointed a structural engineer, who is checking on the columns, debris and soil quality. It is only after we eliminate these possibilities that we can arrive at some conclusion. We have held informal discussions with the structural engineer and prime facie, it seems it was safe for habitation.”

If the inquiry report concludes that the building was structurally stable, it only leaves scope for external alterations causing the tragic incident, as alleged by residents.

On Monday, the three-member committee, headed by an additional municipal commissioner, ran a marathon meeting on the inquiry.

Although Mehta had ordered the report to be submitted in 15 days, civic officials missed the deadline.

The official said the structural engineer’s report is expected in a day or two, after which the report will be submitted to the civic chief.