Day after Sabzi Mandi building collapse, shop owner held over ‘illegal’ repairs

Police said the shop owner had not sought permission from the municipal corporation for carrying out the repair and renovation work.
Police said the shop was registered in Mohak Arora’s name on September 2. (Sourced)
Police said the shop was registered in Mohak Arora’s name on September 2. (Sourced)
Updated on Sep 15, 2021 03:48 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A day after two brothers, aged seven and 12, were killed and a 72-year-old man was seriously injured in a four-storey building collapse in north Delhi’s Sabzi Mandi area, police on Tuesday said they arrested the 24-year-old owner of one of the shops on the building’s ground floor for allegedly carrying out illegal repair and renovation work that reportedly led to the collapse.

Police said the shop owner had not sought permission from the municipal corporation for carrying out the repair and renovation work.

“We have arrested Mohak Arora, who is the owner of the shop in which the renovation work was being carried out... A case under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings) and 34 (common intention) was registered against him at the Sabzi Mandi police station in connection with the deaths caused by the building collapse,” said deputy commissioner of police (north) Anto Alphonse.

Many residents had on Monday attributed the building collapse to vibrations caused during the repairs.

The search and rescue operation at the building collapse site continued till 10pm on Monday, as the locals had claimed that at least three labourers were trapped under the debris. However, except the bodies of the two children and the safe rescue of the 72-year-old man, Ramji Das Aneja, who ran another shop on the ground floor, no bodies or injured persons were found trapped under the debris.

The bodies of brothers Prashant Gupta (7) and Saumya Gupta (12) were recovered from the debris by the rescue teams and local residents. They were passing by when more than half of the building’s structure collapsed, crushing them.

“We have learnt that one Javed and two more labourers were working inside the shop. Prima facie, it appears that they all fled as the structure started shaking. We are looking for them,” said a senior investigator, who did not want to be named.

The four-storey building, more than 60 years old but not declared in the “dangerous category” by the local civil agency, collapsed around 11.30am on Monday, while the renovation work was on at the ground floor shop.

Three brothers — Ajay Aneja, Rajiv Aneja and Sanjay Aneja — lived on the three upper floors with their families. Barring one of their family members, 19-year-old DU student Aryan Aneja, none of their families were on any of the upper floors when the building collapsed. Police said Aryan survived because he had walked into the kitchen that was on the side of the building that remained intact.

Based on initial investigation and Arora’s interrogation, the senior investigator said, the building was Anejas’ ancestral property.

“The wives of Lovely and Bunty (two other Anejas who died earlier) owned the shop but had sold it to Mohak Arora’s family. The registry of the property was done in Arora’s name on September 2. Arora’s family wanted to establish him in a business for which they had planned to repair and renovate the shop,” the officer added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Karn Pratap Singh has been writing on crime, policing, and issues of safety in Delhi for almost a decade. He covers high-intensity spot news, including terror strikes, serial blasts and security threats in the national capital.

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