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Day after Bhajanpura building collpase, its co-owner arrested

By Karn Pratap Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 26, 2020 11:32 PM IST

The police have arrested the co-owner of the building and the tuition centre in Bhajanpura, where five people were killed when a portion of the building caved in on Saturday evening. Police said

Deputy commissioner of police (northeast) Ved Prakash Surya said Hari Shankar Kashyap has been booked for alleged negligence that claimed the lives of four children, aged between 6 and 14 years, and his brother, Umesh Kumar Kashyap,35. At least eight others were injured in the incident.

Investigators said despite construction workers warning the tuition centre owners, they did not suspend classes. As many as 30 students were attending classes in two rooms on the second floor and 15 on the ground floor while construction work was on at the third floor.

“This information has emerged while recording the statement of some labourers , who were working in the building, and some students who survived the collapse,” said an investigator.

Some people in the neighbourhood said they had also suggested to the tuition centre owners to suspend classes for a while.DCP Surya said, “We will interrogate Hari Shankar to verify the information. He will also be asked to explain whether he had sought any permission for the construction from the agencies concerned.”

The coaching centre, which was established in 1996, was being run by the two brothers and their wives on the first and second floors while a third-floor was illegally being constructed to increase the number of classrooms and accommodate more students, the police said.

Ravinder Saini, a childhood friend of Umesh, said that Shankar’s wife, Lakshmi, was teaching on the second floor while the two brothers were attending to students on the ground floor. Umesh’s wife, Ruchi, was talking to someone over her cellphone on the same floor.

“Shankar’s wife came to the ground floor to tell Umesh that there was some fault in the electric plug because of which lights had gone off on the second floor. Umesh went to check the fault when the under-construction third floor collapsed at around 4.15 pm,” said Saini.

“The roof of one room on the second floor came down due to the load of the debris. Many students who survived told us that Umesh bent over other children to save their lives. The debris buried Umesh and 8-10 students,” he added.

A forensic team also visited the site to collect samples of the building material.

East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) mayor Anju Kamalkant said no permission was taken for the fresh construction on the third floor. “The owners did not inform us. Our ground staff had no intimation of what was going on.”

Standing committee chairperson, EDMC, Sandeep Kapoor said: “Most of our staff is currently engaged in the Assembly elections. We will certainly look into what has gone wrong.”

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