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Illegal construction in shop led to collapse, owner held: Police

Illegal construction in shop led to collapse, owner held: Police

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Tuesday said that it has arrested a 26-year-old man for carrying out illegal construction at his shop on the ground floor of the building at Malkaganj in North Delhi's Subzi Mandi area, which collapsed on Monday, crushing two children to death and injuring a 75-year-old man.

The accused has been identified as one Mohak Arora, a resident of Panjabi Basti in Subzi Mandi and a case had been registered on Tuesday against him under IPC sections 304, which pertains to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, among other sections.

A senior police officer from North District said that Arora had removed a crucial platform that had balanced the structure as part of his renovation work in his milk shop on the ground floor which ultimately led to the building's collapse.

"There was a single labourer present at his shop at the time of incident but he might have fled the scene before the building collapsed," the officer said.

The officer added that Gupta had carried out the drilling process without proper supervision and the removal of the crucial platform might have led to a disturbance in the building's structure. Meanwhile, rescue operations continued today but no one else was rescued, the police said.

The deceased were aged eight and 12 and were crushed under the building's weight when they along with their mother were passing by the area. A 75-year-old man, who owned a paan shop near the ground floor of the building, was also rescued from the debris and is undergoing medical treatment.

Locals and residents of the area alleged that the owner of the shop on the ground floor was carrying out construction work for several days and didn't heed warnings from them despite several pleas.

Significantly, according to the North MCD's pre-monsoon survey of risky structure in its jurisdiction, 699 buildings and properties were identified, of which 20 were in the Malkaganj ward itself. Among these, nine were on the same street on which the building had collapsed on Monday.

However, the building in question was left out of the list of risk-prone structures with officials saying it was not deemed dangerous at the time. But after Monday's collapse, the North MCD has ordered a fresh survey of risky structures.

Also, late on Tuesday, Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said that another house collapsed at Lal Darwaza Sita Ram Bazar but the same was empty so no one was injured.

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