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Mahad building collapse: HC rejects discharge plea of landowner’s son, developer’s cousin

Jun 16, 2024 07:16 AM IST

Bombay HC rejects discharge plea of two involved in Tariq Garden building collapse. Judge finds them privy to the offense due to their roles in construction and maintenance.

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently rejected the discharge plea of two persons related to the landowner and developer of the Tariq Garden building in Mahad, which collapsed in August 2020. The five-storied building collapsed barely six years after its construction, killing 16 residents and injuring several others.

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Under the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973, a discharge application is a remedy granted to a person who has been wrongly charged. The Code provides provisions for filing a discharge application if the allegations against the accused are false.

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A single judge bench of justice SM Modak rejected the discharge pleas of Yunus Razzak Shaikh, son of the landowner and Irfan Husain Miyan Qazi, cousin of the developer. The court, however, discharged RCC consultant Bahubali Dhamane from the case for want of material showing his complicity.

The trio approached the high court after the Mangaon sessions court rejected their discharge pleas by separate orders issued in February 2023 and September 2023.

They argued that there was no substantial evidence linking them to the ill-fated. Justice Modak, however, refused to accept the arguments advanced on behalf of Shaikh and Qazi. “Prima facie, it can be said that both these Applicants were involved in the construction activity and when the construction was going on, and they were also involved after the purchasers were put into possession,” said the judge.

“It can certainly be said that they have assisted the Accused No. 1 developer – Farooque in carrying out the construction. Both were aware of the grievance of inferior material. These materials placed against them are sufficient to infer they are privy to the offence,” the bench added.

Further, it noted that Shaikh was involved in interacting with the prospective purchasers, signing as a witness to the agreements and sometimes accepting a part consideration.

The bench said some witness statements suggested that he was involved in purchasing raw materials like bricks and used to visit the site and supervise the construction, and even after completion of the building, he collected maintenance amounts required for installing new electric connections when the earlier were burnt.

In Qazi’s case, he defended using gypsum for construction in the court. He also tried to convince the flat purchasers that it was a new technology used in Mumbai to construct huge buildings.

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