A day after Somnath building collapsed in Sahakarnagar on Monday, officials from the Sahakarnagar police station arrested former Congress corporator Sanjay Nande yesterday afternoon. Nande was accused of owning the property.
Nande was produced in the Shivajinagar Court before Judicial Magistrate (First Class) K P Jain-Desarda amidst heavy police cover. He was later remanded in police custody till Friday.
Officials are now on the lookout for Dhirendra Sawant alias Lahu alias, Nande’s partner, who has been missing since the collapse.
Nande was arrested under Section 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 338, 337 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and section 55 of Maharashtra Regional Town planning Act (1966) in the wee hours of yesterday.
“Despite receiving the notice from the PMC that construction of the building was on without permission and the structure was illegal, Nande and Sawant continued with construction work and simply turned a deaf ear to the notice,” Public Prosecutor Supriya More said.
“The suspects wanted to finish the work quickly, for which painting, slab work, plastering and brickwork were carried out concurrently. Because of this, the construction of the building was of substandard quality and the three-storeyed building caved in on Monday afternoon. Eleven people, including construction labourers, small children and women died and the same number of people sustained injuries in the mishap.”
More told the court that Nande was a former corporator from the city and should not have jeopardised lives of so many poor people by raising an illegal structure in a short span of time. She said police officials need Nande’s custody for further investigation.
“Sawant is absconding and a team has been despatched to his hometown in Khed taluka to arrest him,” More said. More said police officials must also investigate the contractors’ role, who were looking after the construction, and the source from where the accused purchased raw material like cement, bricks, sand and iron rods, among others. More said police officials need to recover all the documents related to the land and the building, and blueprints of the building from the suspects.
Opposing Nande’s police custody, his lawyers Rajabhau Sonawale and Sanjay Dalvi argued that their client had nothing to do with the building and there was no partnership between Sawant and Nanade.
The lawyers argued that Nande was dragged into this case unnecessarily. “The land is in the name of Babulal Solanki and the power of attorney was in Sawant’s name. There is no documental evidence that shows Nande was associated with the project,” Sonawale said.