PUNE: A Maharashtra court on Sunday remanded two builders to police custody till Tuesday in connection with the wall collapse in Kondhwa area, which killed 15 labourers. Vipul Agarwal and Vivek Agarwal, the developers and partners in Alcon Landmarks, were arrested on Saturday after a portion of a 22-ft-high compound wall of a housing society collapsed following incessant rainfall on the adjoining shanties following incessant rains, trapping the sleeping families under the debris.
According to officials, three persons were rescued, out of which two are undergoing treatment.
The accused builders are identified as Jagdishprasad Agarwal (64), Sachin Agarwal (34), Rajesh Jagdishprasad Agarwal (27) Vivek Agarwal (21) and Vipul Agarwal (21) of Alcon Landmarks, and Pankaj Vora, Suresh Shah and Rashmikant Gandhi of Kanchan Royal Exotica project for which excavation work was going on, a police officer said.
They are booked under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he said.
"The name of the site where the excavation work was going on is Kanchan Royal Exotica. Vora, Shah and Gandhi are the partners in the project," he said, adding that no arrest is made so far. The victims of the incident, which took place between 1.30 am and 1.45 am, who were labourers, and their family members were living in the makeshift shelters at the site of the under-construction residential project -- Kanchan Royal Exotica -- where deep excavation work was underway.
Earlier in the day, Pune Municipal Corporation commissioner Saurabh Rao said it appears that the soil may have loosened due to heavy rain coupled with the excavation work that was carried out "irresponsibly" close to the retaining wall of the housing society.
The intensity of the impact increased as many cars parked along the wall inside the society too fell on the shanties, officials said.
A Pune district administration official said that arrangements would be made to send bodies of the deceased to their native places after postmortem.
Meanwhile, residents of the housing society have claimed that they had sounded an alert with the developer about the quality of the retaining wall and raised the issue in February this year, but the builder failed to take any action.
The police also told the court that documents pertaining to the contract given for the construction of the wall need to be seized as well. However, defence lawyer Sanjay Agarwal opposed the demand for police custody, saying it cannot be a case of culpable homicide. “It is a case of death caused by negligence under Indian Penal Code Section 304-A,” he said. The police have booked the accused under IPC Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 34 (common intention).