Building owner arrested
Bengaluru: The police have arrested the contractor and owner of the under-construction building in Bellandur, which collapsed on Wednesday, killing five people.
The HSR Layout police took Srinivas Reddy into custody late on Wednesday night and booked him under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
“The project is a joint venture and more people are involved in it. We are interrogating Reddy and based on the information he provides, we will arrest the others,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) Boralingaiah told DH.
The Fire and Emergency Services personnel, meanwhile, retrieved the bodies of three more victims on Thursday. They were identified as Radha Nayak (30), Dhruva (30) and Shameen (56), all labourers.
The bodies of Sameer (19), also a labourer, and Ashok Mahanta (45), a security guard at an adjacent building, were recovered on Wednesday.
Police said rescue and search operations will continue. “Unless the debris is cleared, we cannot confirm how many people have died,” Boralingaiah said. The injured include Sri Krishna, Chandan, Ramesh Sahu, Chandan Guchai, Aditya, Malli, Nagaraj, Ram Babu, Hari Krishna and Dipankar, who is said to be in the intensive care unit.
They all belong to different states like West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and from northern parts of Karnataka. Labourers who escaped unhurt said 17 people were working when the building collapsed. The police said they were still not able to figure out the exact number of those who were working when the incident occurred.
“They (labourers) do not know the names or native places of their fellow workers. This has made it difficult for us to get accurate information about the victims,” said an officer.
Mallamma, a labourer from Yadgir who worked in the building, recounted her harrowing experience. “Around 20 people were working when the structure started crumbling. Most of them were Hindi-speaking workers. I was standing outside the gate and when I looked up, I saw the building collapsing. A few of us rushed to safety. It all happened in just 20 seconds. For the next two minutes, I could only see clouds of dust.
“The police told us three more people are stuck in the rubble, but we do not know exactly how many are there. Six of us workers resided in the building, while others stayed in areas nearby. The construction was almost over and only tile-laying, plumbing and electrical work were being carried out,” added Mallamma.