Sabzi Mandi building collapse: ‘Renovation work weakened structure, one arrested’, says Delhi police



NEW DELHI: A man, who owned a shop on the ground floor of a building, which collapsed in the Sabzi Mandi area here killing two children, was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly conducting repair work that weakened the structure, police said.

Mohak Arora (26), a resident of the area, had recently bought the shop in the four-storey building and was renovating it, they said. “Preliminary investigation has revealed that Arora had got a platform removed from the ground floor of the building on Sunday during the ongoing renovation work at his shop which led to weakening of the building’s structure and eventually, it collapsed on Monday,” a senior police officer said.

The building in the congested north Delhi market place led to the death of Somya (12) and Prashant Gupta (7), who were walking past it along with their mother.

The shop, which was bought by Arora, earlier sold milk, and he was renovating it as he wanted to start some work related to electrical appliances, police said, adding that he already had a shop that sold electrical items in Sabzi Mandi.

“Mohak Arora has been arrested under a case registered against him under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention),” the officer said.

The children, residents of Roshnara Road in Old Delhi, were trapped under the debris of the building, according to police. Seventy-two-year-old Ramji Das, a resident of Malka Ganj, who owned a “paan” shop near the building, was also trapped.

He was rescued and had suffered injuries to his head, they said. Thirteen members of the Aneja family narrowly escaped what could have a fatal mishap. The Anejas who occupied three out of the four floors were all, except one member, outside the house when the incident happened.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has ordered an inquiry into the incident and directed the building department to submit its report within seven days. However, the building that collapsed had not been identified as dangerous by the civic body.

The NDMC has said that the building is an about 50-60 years old structure. The ground floor was being used for commercial purpose while the rest was residential.

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