Police, MCD in blame game over building collapse
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 23:01
New Delhi: Police and MCD were on Wednesday locked in a war of words over the building collapse in Old Delhi with the civic agency seeking to put the blame on cops for not taking action against illegal construction at the site, a charge which was immediately rebutted.

The blame game started as a senior MCD official claimed that the civic body had informed the police a fortnight ago about "dangerous" digging activity being carried out by the owner of the building which collapsed along with another in Chandni Mahal yesterday.

The official claimed Deputy Commissioner (City Zone) Krishna Kumar wrote to Station House Officer of Chandni Mahal police station that illegal construction was taking place in one of the buildings, which collapsed yesterday, but alleged that the cops did not take any action.

However, Joint Commissioner of Police (Northern Range) Sudhir Yadav denied the allegations and claimed police had not received any complaint from the Deputy Commissioner regarding the illegal construction.

"As per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, the Deputy Commissioner has to give a complaint in writing to police about the activity. Here, we have not received any complaint from the official but a copy of the letter given to the owner of the building asking him to stop the illegal construction.

"There was no specific instruction or direction in the communication received by us. It was just a copy of the letter given to the owner on September 16 and we cannot take action on this," Yadav told agency.

However, he said, police had gone to the spot and had asked the contractor and owner not to carry out any illegal activities there on September 25. "Police's role was limited in this case," he said.

Yadav said police always provide assistance to MCD whenever they seek it for carrying out sealing or demolition activities.

"We cannot carry out sealing or demolition drives. It is the job of the MCD. We give them assistance in carrying out these drives," he said.

If there is a complaint from the MCD, he said, then only police can take any action.

He said the MCD has to file a report in court for getting a building sealed if there is illegal construction and seek its permission.

According to Section 466(A) of DMC Act, police can take action against a person who indulges in illegal construction only if there is a complaint from such an officer of the Corporation, not being below the rank of a Deputy Commissioner.

In this context, Yadav said, police had little role in this particular case as there was no intimation or direction from the officer.

Seven persons, including four women and a minor boy, were killed and 22 injured when two adjacent buildings collapsed in Chandni Mahal in Old Delhi's Daryaganj area last night.

Owner Anil was allegedly carrying out some construction work at his building which collapsed due to digging work.

Police has registered a case of culpable homicide against Anil and contractor Haji Jalaluddin.


First Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 23:01

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