The family of Anant Mhatre, who owns Sonibai Bhawan, denied that the building was unauthorised. They blamed the collapse on tremors felt in the area early on Tuesday.
"The structure is legal," said Shekhar Mhatre (27), Anant's nephew. "Had it been illegal, the civic body would have sent us a notice, but it never did. Ask the tenants; they too will blame the tremors."
M.B. Patil, deputy municipal commissioner (Zone 1), maintained that the building was unauthorised and did not have the required pillars. "Such structures are weak," Patil said.
Soon after the collapse, Anant (64) and his wife Prabhavati (58) admitted themselves to a hospital, claiming to have developed blood pressure-related complications. "My uncle is very disturbed. He is in a state of shock," Shekhar said.
The Mhatre family owns at least three buildings in the area. Most of the flats have been given out on monthly rents of Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. "We have public support. We will fight the allegations," said another family member.