Two Mumbra civic engineers arrested for accepting bribe

The mangled heap of steel and concrete at Lucky Compound in Shil Phata area of Thane shows how the builder ignored rules and safety measures while constructing the ill-fated building.

The arrests of two more civic officials on Tuesday in connection with the collapse of an illegal building in Mumbra, which claimed 74 lives and injured 62 others, show just how deep the rot goes in the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).

The Thane police arrested two engineers with the TMC's encroachment department - Subhash Raghunath Rawal, 52, executive engineer, and Ramesh Vasudeo Inamdar, 46, deputy engineer - for allegedly accepting bribe from the builders of the seven-storey building, which collapsed on April 4. With this, the total arrests in the case have gone up to 13.

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said: "The engineers had accepted bribe from the builders of the building that collapsed. Their role was omission of duty."

The arrests of civic officials, a policeman and a local corporator, among others, give credence to the theory of a strong builder-politician-officials nexus that is facilitating the construction of illegal buildings in the region. "They [the engineers] are beneficiaries," said KP Raghuvanshi, Thane police commissioner.

The seven-storey building came up within two to three month in violation of all norms and without any permissions, after which the builders got slumdwellers to move into the flats on all seven floors, free of cost, to prevent civic authorities from demolishing the structure.

The duo will be produced before a local court on Wednesday.

Farook Abdul Latif Chapra, 59, architect of the building, and Rafiq Daud Kamdar, 44, a local journalist, who were arrested on Monday, have been remanded in police custody till March 20. The police said Chapra was not qualified to construct such a building, but made the plan, while Kamdar acted as a mediator between civic officials and the builders.

All the accused have been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, criminal conspiracy and causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others, among other charges under the Indian Penal Code. They have also been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


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