Delhi building collapse: Owner claims innocence, probe ordered

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Delhi government Wednesday ordered a judicial probe into the east Delhi building collapse that killed 67 and left 82 injured, even as the owner maintained the building was not illegal.

Former High Court Judge Lokeshwar Prashad will conduct the inquiry and submit his report within 90 days, a Delhi government statement Wednesday said.

The probe will fix responsibility, both individual and institutional, for the collapse of the building and indicate the measures required to improve the responses and prevent such incidents in future, the statement added.

Amrit Pal Singh, the owner of the collapsed building, said Wednesday he had followed all rules in its construction, and had not bribed ministers and officials.

“I have not bribed anyone. I told all ministers personally about the details of the building. The reports of me bribing officials to get a no objection certificate are completely false,” he said.

Singh was presented before the Karkardooma court in the capital Wednesday, and was sent to two days’ police custody.

Said to have been involved in criminal cases earlier, Amrit Pal Singh is charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code for the house collapse deaths.

The building, in which poor migrant families from Bihar and West Bengal lived, was located in congested Lalita Park locality near the Yamuna river in east Delhi. It collapsed around 8.15 p.m. Monday.

Around 20 are still feared buried under the rubble, but rescue work has been hampered by Wednesday’s rains, a official of the Delhi Fire Service said.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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