Thane police find strong proof of nexus among officials, builder and police

The Thane police have arrested nine persons, including the suspended Deputy Municipal Commissioner, two builders and police and municipal officials for the building collapse in Shilphata, which killed 74 people.

Thane Police Commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi told the media on Sunday that all nine have been remanded to police custody for 14 days.

Raids on the houses of builders Salim Sheikh and Jamil Qureishi led to documents which provided evidence of payments and dates to the others arrested. The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) is also investigating the matter.

Mr. Raghuvanshi said there was strong evidence to support the fact that municipal officials Deepak Chavan, Deputy Municipal Commissioner; Babasaheb Andhale, Assistant Municipal Commissioner; and Kisan Madke, a clerk, had received bribes. In addition, the builders also paid Jehangir Syed, head constable of the nearby Tiger police station.

NCP corporator held

Raids on Chavan’s house resulted in seizure of Rs. 5 lakh in cash and some property papers. The trail led to an agent, Jabbar Patel, and Afroze Ansari, who was arrested for supplying sub-standard construction material.

Hira Patil, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporator from the area, was also arrested for receiving bribes. He has been since suspended from the party, confirmed spokesperson Nawab Malik.

All the nine arrested have been charged under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 120 B and other provisions of the IPC. Mr. Raghuvanshi clarified that the police had not yet applied the murder charge.

A big racket

Mr. Raghuvanshi said illegal buildings were a big racket and the builders get poor people to stay inside the under-construction houses so that they will not be demolished.

According to the papers retrieved from the raids on the builders’ homes, there is clear evidence of payments made to people with dates.

Two more buildings owned by the arrested builders were in Lucky Compound and one of them would be demolished, he said. Since the builders had bribed public servants, they were also charged with section 13 (1) d of the Prevention of Corruption Act.