Experts of IIT, Anna University to be part of SIT

Strengthening the team to investigate the criminal cases filed in connection with last week’s collapse of an 11-storey building at Moulivakkam here, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday ordered the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) that will have technical experts too.

At least 61 construction workers were killed in the incident, even as 27 others were rescued alive in a massive rescue operation that went on for six days from June 28.

While a special police team has started the investigation of the cases filed with the Mangaadu police, the SIT, to be headed by a Joint Commissioner, will help to enhance the level of the probe under the supervision of Chennai Commissioner of Police S. George. The managing director and director of the construction firm and a few others have been arrested.

The SIT will include experts and structural engineers from the IIT-Madras, Anna University and other universities and the Public Works Department. They will render technical assistance to the probe, Ms. Jayalalithaa said in a statement.

Assembly session

The decision is significant as it comes ahead of the Assembly session, which will begin on July 10, and amid the demand for a CBI probe by Opposition parties, led by DMK president M. Karunanidhi. CPI(M) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan had earlier sought a judicial probe.

Retired bureaucrats and social activists have criticised the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority for lack of transparency in the manner in which its clears plans for high-rises, and builders for rampant deviations which they hope to get regularised later.

The tragedy also spotlighted the plight of hundreds of migrant workers and their families, including those from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, who were trapped as sudden rains brought down the structure, raised allegedly with structural deficiencies.

Ms. Jayalalithaa has also appointed the former Madras High Court Judge, R. Regupathy, as a one-man commission of inquiry to find out the reasons for the collapse and suggest measures to avert such catastrophes.

The rescue work was declared completed on July 4, and the site was sealed until the inquiry commission completed its work. A similar structure nearby has also been declared unsafe.