Two unidentified men died on Tuesday night when a portion of a three-storey commercial building in Matunga fell on them. The men, estimated to be between 40 and 50 years, were sleeping on the footpath when the slab above two shops collapsed at 11.30 pm. The duo were crushed to death.
The portion of Matunga Mansion that has collapsed. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Locals say that the men were homeless and used to sleep on the footpath under two shops — Shanti book store and Pediroso shoes store — located on the ground floor.
The building in question is Matunga Mansion, which is 70-years-old and houses a number of shops apart from a lodge and a coaching centre.
“We won’t be able to point out who is at fault until the investigation gets over so we haven’t registered any case yet,” said Atul Landage of Matunga Police Station, who is the investigating officer, adding that the bodies have been sent for post-mortem to the nearby Sion hospital.
The owner of the building, Shantibhai Dedhia, whose jewellery shop Dagina is also in the same complex could not be reached for comment.
The manager of his shop, Piyush Soni said, “Till now something like this has never happened. Moreover, the slab that collapsed last night is not a part of our complex,” adding that an accident has happened in Dedhia’s family, which is why he was not present at the spot.
Javed Khan, the owner of the shoe shop, said, “We are tenants and so we cannot build any slab without the landlord’s permission. He is blaming us.”
Keshav Ubale, officer at BMC F north ward, said, “We have reviewed the structure and found out that the slab was feeble since the steel rods inside it were corroded.” He also added that BMC had sent a structural audit notice to Dedhia on April 18, 2014, but he didn’t reply. After Tuesday’s incident, the BMC has issued a pull down notice for the building.