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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Builders ignored warning that wall was tilting: Pune Police

The Pune Police told a court on Sunday that the developers of a housing society where a wall collapse killed 15 people amid torrential rain had previously ignored warnings by residents that the structure was tilting and could fall.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2019 08:39 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
The 15-feet-high compound wall of the housing complex in Kondhwa area of Pune toppled over on Friday night and buried a cluster of adjoining tin-roofed shanties that housed migrant workers from Bihar and their families.
The 15-feet-high compound wall of the housing complex in Kondhwa area of Pune toppled over on Friday night and buried a cluster of adjoining tin-roofed shanties that housed migrant workers from Bihar and their families. (HT photo)
         

The Pune Police told a court on Sunday that the developers of a housing society where a wall collapse killed 15 people amid torrential rain had previously ignored warnings by residents that the structure was tilting and could fall.

The 15-feet-high compound wall of the housing complex in Kondhwa area of Pune toppled over on Friday night and buried a cluster of adjoining tin-roofed shanties that housed migrant workers from Bihar and their families.

While seeking custody of two developers and partners in Alcon Landmarks on Sunday, the police told judicial magistrate (first class) SS Ramdin that they were aware the wall was tilting but took no action to repair it. The court remanded the two builders, Vipul Agarwal and Vivek Agarwal, in police custody till July 2.

In their remand application, the police said the wall, which was constructed in 2013, had weakened over the years. The residents of the society informed the builder and his partner in writing but they took no action, the police added.

The wall, dividing the car park of the multi-storey apartment complex Alcon Stylus from the shanty cluster, collapsed around 1.30am when the workers were asleep and did not get a chance to shift to another location.

Some cars parked in the lot were damaged.

Kondhwa Fire Station incharge Prakash Gore said the foundation of the compound wall had weakened because of deep digging in the area. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner Saurabh Rao said the digging was illegal and those who had carried it out would be punished.

In the application, police inspector (crime) Mahadeo Kumbhar said it was a serious matter as the builders ignored the grievances of the residents despite written complaints.

“The builders had the knowledge that the wall foundation had become weak, excavation work was going full speed from other side in the neighbourhood and the citizens had complained to them in writing. The builders had provided for a facility of rumblers to the cars so that they don’t fall into the ditch. All these factors show that they were well aware about the dangers but still were negligent in their duties,” Kondhwa Police station incharge Anil Patil said.

The police have registered a case of culpable homicide against the developers of two construction firms, Alcon Landmarks and Kanchan Royal Exotica. The police told the court they needed to seize some documents and maps of Alcon Stylus to complete their investigation.

The counsel appearing for the two developers, however, opposed the demand for police custody and said that “it cannot be a case of culpable homicide”. “It is a case of death caused by negligence under Indian Penal Code Section 304-A,” said Sanjay Agarwal.

First Published: Jun 30, 2019 23:00 IST

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