Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust official denied bail over collapse of Mumbai’s Hussaini building
The 117-year-old structure was deemed dilapidated by the Maharashtra Housing Development Authority (Mhada) on March 28, 2011.mumbai Updated: Mar 22, 2018 00:28 IST
A city sessions court on Wednesday rejected the bail application of Shoaib Wajihuddin, the head of tenant management at Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT). Wajihuddin had been arrested in connection with the collapse of Hussaini building that killed 33 people on August 31 last year.
The 117-year-old structure was deemed dilapidated by the Maharashtra Housing Development Authority (Mhada) on March 28, 2011, subsequent to which, it served an eviction notice to the tenants. SBUT has undertaken a redevelopment project for the old structures.
Abad Ponda, the defence attorney for Wajihuddin ,argued that the building collapsed due to heavy rains and that the accused did not physically do anything to cause it. SBUT had already provided some families with temporary accommodation in 2013-14, Ponda said. He argued that Wajihuddin should get bail as police have not yet arrested any Mhada officials.
The prosecution pointed out that Wajihuddin is a UK national and contended is likely to flee justice if released on bail. Opposing the bail application, the prosecution said, “The negligence is directly on the part of SBUT, as they did not vacate the tenants from the premises when they were served notices.”
The intervening advocate, Ram Upadhyay, accused the police of not investigating the matter thoroughly and not making swift arrests. “In the Kamala Mills incident, police swung into action because the victims were rich. In the case of building collapse, no one cares because the victims were not that rich,” said Upahhyay.
Judge G Agrawal observed that SBUT had turned a blind eye to the imminent danger which ultimately culminated into the collapse. It transpires some new tenants were also inducted and it is a matter to be investigated, the court held. The judge said the head of the tenant department of SBUT had not taken serious steps to save tenants.