ASI dead, constable hurt after portion of building collapses in north Delhi
A 49-year-old assistant sub-inspector (ASI) died and a constable injured when an under-construction portion of a two-storey building collapsed in north Delhi’s Azad Market on Wednesday morning. The two officers were in the building for verification of the tenants, officials said.
Police and municipal officials said a third floor was being constructed in the run-down building, but no permissions had been sought for the same.
North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Jai Prakash said, “The information we have received is that illegal constructions were being done in the building. I have ordered an enquiry into the matter to probe how and why the construction was happening. Any official found responsible for the laxity in the incident will not be spared.”
The complex in which the building is located used to house a biscuit factory earlier, and is spread over nearly 5,000 square yards. The rooms in the building are owned by different persons. One of the occupants of the building said the rooms inside are used as toy assembling factories or godowns.
Deputy commissioner of police (north) Monika Bhardwaj said that in the wake of the forthcoming Independence Day celebration, the deceased ASI Zakir Hussain along with constable Debu Singh of the Bara Hindu Rao police station had gone to Azad Market for checking tenants living in the area.
Around 10.30am, Bhardwaj said, the two policemen reached Gupta Building at Ram Bagh Road and while verifying tenants living there, noticed illegal constructions being done on the third floor of the building.
“The ASI and the constable went to the third floor to note details and take photographs of the illegal construction to send to the municipal corporation. The floor collapsed, and Hussain fell outside the building, while the constable fell on the second floor,” Bhardwaj said.
A police officer associated with the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Hussain was standing on the edge of the third floor terrace, while the constable was near the staircase when the floor caved in.
“Hussain fell almost 40-feet onto a cemented floor outside the building. Some portion of the collapsed wall also fell on his body, causing multiple injuries to his head and other body parts. His bike parked outside was also damaged,” the officer said, quoting eyewitnesses.
The officer said the injured constable, with the help of some locals, rushed Hussain to Aruna Asaf Ali hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. The constable was also admitted there and is undergoing treatment. Officials said he is out of danger.
“A case under sections 304A (causing death by negligence) and 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in connection with the mishap,” Bhardwaj said.
She said that the portion of the building where the mishap took place is owned by a Civil Lines resident, while the contractor who was carrying out the illegal construction has also been identified.
“They will be questioned about the illegal construction,” Bhardwaj added.
Police said the building’s ground and second floors are used as storehouses. Around four labourers who work in nearby factories and storehouses live on the first floor as tenants, while two kiosks that sell tobacco and groceries are located on the ground floor.
Hussain joined the Delhi Police in 1993 as a constable. Survived by his parents, brother, wife, a daughter and two sons, he was the sole bread-earner in the family. His wife and children live in Wazirabad village, Hussain’s parents and brother live in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.
His brother, Shahid Hussain said, “My brother left home for work around 8.30am, and in less than three hours we received a call from the Bara Hindu Road police station regarding the mishap and his death. We have lost the only earning member of our family. He wanted to see his two sons crack the MBBS and civil service exams and daughter become a teacher. All his dreams are shattered with his demise.”
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled north body over the collapse.
Senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak alleged that the building collapse was a result of “corruption” in the civic body. “Such illegal constructions in Ram Bagh, which is in Sadar Bazar area, cannot take place without the connivance of the local councillor Jai Prakash, who is also the mayor of the north corporation. An FIR should be registered against Jai Prakash for corruption and allowing illegal construction in the area,” Pathak said.
Hitting back, Prakash said he would resort to legal action against Pathak for levelling “baseless” allegations against him.
“These allegations are absolutely false and baseless. It is an attempt to malign my image. I will send a legal notice to Pathak for making false allegations and tarnishing my image,” Prakash said.