Decorator accused in deadly building collapse in Mumbai

Sept. 29, 2013 at 9:40 AM
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MUMBAI, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Mumbai investigators Sunday blamed a decorator's removal of a central wall and support beams for a building collapse that killed 66 people.

The building that housed around 21 families collapsed Friday evening. The search and rescue operation ended Sunday with a death toll of 66. The Indo-Asian News Service said 33 people were pulled from the rubble alive.

Police arrested Ashok Kumar Mehta, owner of Mamamiya Decorators, and charged him with culpable homicide not amounting to murder -- a charge equal to negligent homicide -- for allegedly removing a wall and support beam inside the building, CNN reported.

Mehta's business was on the ground floor of the building.

Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu said the building was inspected in November, at which time it was determined to be in poor condition and in urgent need of repair, CNN reported.

The Mumbai government approved funds to fix the building, but the renovations never happened, Prabhu said. Residents were asked to vacate twice, once in November and again in April, but they never did, CNN said.

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