Bangladesh building disaster: Four arrested, toll crosses 350

Four including 2 factory owners, were arrested in building collapse disaster in Bangladesh which killed 353, as rescuers tried to save people trapped under the mangled pile of metal and concrete.

Updated: Apr 27, 2013, 22:05 PM IST

Savar: Four people, including two factory owners, were arrested on Saturday in connection with a building collapse disaster in Bangladesh that killed at least 353, as rescuers raced against time to save people trapped under the mangled pile of metal and concrete.
Rana Plaza, the eight-storey commercial building that collapsed on Wednesday, housed five garment units supplying Western clothes retailers, a branch of a private bank and about 300 shops.

So far 353 bodies have been pulled out, said a police officer at the makeshift control room set up near the collapse site. At least 2,431 people have been pulled out alive as the country witnessed its biggest ever rescue drill.

Rescuers said the survivors trapped inside were becoming too weak to call out for help.

"We have now mobilised all our efforts to rescue alive the survivors," an army spokesman said.

New Wave Bottoms Chairman Bazlus Samad and its managing director Mahmudur Rahman Tapash were arrested after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered capture of the owners of the factories housed in the collapsed building.

Two engineers of Savar municipality were also arrested on charge of playing down the danger from the cracks that developed in the building.

Police had filed a case against them for "death due to negligence".

"The factory owners were remanded in police custody for six days each and the two engineers were remanded in custody for four days each under the court orders," a government prosecutor of Dhaka`s judicial magistrate court told PTI.

State-run Capital Development Authority (CDA) said the owner of the building was allowed to develop a five-story building, instead of the eight-story by the local municipality, which too did not have the authority to grant it.

A manhunt was underway to track down building owner who went into hiding since the structure caved in.

Earlier reports said the building developed visible cracks on Tuesday, but the factory owners ordered the workers to return to the production lines causing the tragedy.

Locals said around 3,500 workers, mostly women, of the garment factories were working when the tragedy struck.

Meanwhile, thousands of garment factory workers in different parts of the capital took to the streets to protest the deaths in Savar and vandalised several vehicles including buses and cars at Shewrapara.