x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Builders, police in court over India building collapse that killed 74

Two builders, police officers and municipality officials appear in court over the deadly collapse of a seven-storey building that killed 74 people.

MUMBAI // Two builders, police officers and municipality officials appeared in court yesterday over the deadly collapse of a seven-storey building that killed 74 people last week.

Jamil Qureshi and Salim Sheikh had fled after the illegal structure in Thane district on the outskirts of Mumbai collapsed on Thursday evening but were arrested by police a day later.

The pair, along with seven others arrested in connection with the tragedy, were remanded in judicial custody till April 20, police said.

"Apart from the builders, we have also arrested some public servants who were involved in this. The builders had bribed them," the Thane police commissioner, KP Raghuvanshi, said.

"Whoever is responsible for this building collapse incident, even if they are government officials, will be brought to justice."

The builders have been slapped with a series of charges, including criminal conspiracy and endangering life and the safety of others.

In a similar deadly collapse in 2010, 69 people were killed in New Delhiin.

Most of the victims of the Thane tragedy were poor daily wage earners working at the site and their families. The dead included 30 children and 18 women.

The collapse of the partly-finished building highlighted widespread shoddy building standards in India. There is huge demand for housing and pervasive corruption often means cost-cutting and avoidance of safety inspections.