Vadodara building collapse: Congress wants govt inquiry commission head to `recuse`

Raising pitch for judicial probe into collapse of two buildings Congress asked Manjula Subramaniam, former Gujarat chief secretary, to withdraw as the head of the inquiry commission.

Vadodara: Raising the pitch for a judicial probe into Wednesday`s collapse of two buildings in which 11 persons were killed, Congress on Saturday asked Manjula Subramaniam, former Gujarat chief secretary, to withdraw as the head of the inquiry commission appointed by the state government.
"You were Urban Secretary in 1999-2001 when these 458 flats in 33 buildings in Madhavnagar and Keshavnagar areas in Atladara were designed, tendered and the contracts awarded. Even the plinth-checking was done before 2001 and it was certified," said a memorandum submitted to Subramaniam by a delegation of local Congress leaders.

Subramaniam arrived here to conduct investigations into the cause of the collapse.

The delegation, led by city unit president Narendra Ravat, said, "...How do we except independent inquiry from your end when in fact your role is under the scrutiny?"

The Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela yesterday demanded a judicial commission, headed by a retired judge of the Gujarat High Court, to inquire into the collapse of two three-storey buildings constructed for economically weaker sections by Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA).

Ravat alleged that Subramaniam hid the fact she was Urban Secretary when the design plans of the buildings were approved.

The delegation demanded that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Urban Secretary be held responsible for the death of occupants of the flats by allowing the "flawed construction plan".

"These structures were constructed immediately after the devastating earthquake in 2001. Even though they were built as earthquake-proof, it was imperative that utmost care should have been taken. This incident highlights the extent of corruption which is going on in Gujarat since 2002," said the memorandum, copies of which were distributed to media.

Congress also asked the government to provide alternate accommodation to those displaced due to the cave-in.

The copies of the memorandum were forwarded to state Governor Kamla Beniwal and chief minister Narendra Modi.

Police filed an FIR on Thursday against the contractor(s) of the buildings and officials of Vadodara Urban Development Authority for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under relevant IPC sections.


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