A boundary wall, being constructed illegally, in east Delhi's Dallupura village claimed the lives of five children and critically injured one. The incident took place around 9.45am on Wednesday.
A cold drink company was constructing a godown at the nearly 3,000 square yard plot behind Dharamshila Hospital in Ashok Nagar area. Police said a JCB machine was being used to remove debris from the site. The machine touched the newly built portion of the boundary wall, which collapsed.
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) washed its hands of the incident, saying that Dallupura came under the jurisdiction of Delhi government's revenue department as it was a rural area.
Delhi urban development minister Arvinder Singh claimed that preventing illegal construction was the responsibility of local bodies.
"Delhi government will provide R1 lakh as compensation to the family members of those who died in the incident. R50,000 will be given to the family members of the injured. Two inquiries have been ordered into the incident. While a magisterial inquiry has been constituted under the deputy commissioner (revenue), the deputy commissioner of EDMC has been asked to probe the negligence on their part," said Singh.
Police said the owner of the plot, Vijender Singh Gujjar, had rented out the plot to a cold drink company.
The illegal construction was being carried out allegedly under the nose of the local New Ashok Nagar police station, which is not more than 250 meters away from the spot. The role of the beat police officers will be probed, a senior officer said.
A case under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings), 336, 338 and 34 of the IPC has been registered against the owner of the plot and contractors at the New Ashok Nagar police station. All of them are absconding, police said.
The victims, who lived behind in a building behind the boundary wall, have been identified as Aditya, 2, Ankit, 6, and his sister Baby, 4, Amit, 7 and Kanchan, 7.
Satish, who lost two children in the mishap, said that they had alerted the contractor and the plot owner about a crack in the wall about a week ago, but nothing was done to repair it.