Engineers jailed for collapse

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Mumbai
  • Published 7.05.08
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Mumbai, May 7: A sessions court today convicted two engineers of the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA) for failing to warn residents of Sadaf Manzil that collapsed in 2005.

Narayan Mahajan and Arun Katarki were sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail. The Sewree court found the duo guilty under sections 304A (causing death due to negligence), and 337 and 338 (endangering life and personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.

The engineers had surveyed the dilapidated century-old building three weeks before the collapse and had certified it safe to live in.

The four-storey building in south-central Mumbai’s Nagpada came crashing down in the small hours of August 23, 2005, trapping 31 people under the debris. Eleven of them, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed.

The court acquitted the landlord of Sadaf Manzil, Baba Yusuf Qureshi, architect Mukund Dakshini and contractor Indrababu Sharma for lack of evidence.

The prosecution examined six witnesses to prove that the building should have been listed as an A-category structure, unfit to live in and needing urgent repairs, but the engineers gave a contrary report, leading to the tragedy.

Mahajan and Katarki’s defence lawyer said they had been given a clean chit by a one-man committee set up by the MHADA to probe the collapse. But the court rejected the argument and convicted the two.

Sadaf Manzil was located in the congested Temkar Street, where underworld don Dawood Ibrahim once lived. It had 16 flats, four on each floor. The landlord used to run a garment unit on the ground floor.