Mumbai building collapse: Indian police arrest nine

Rescue workers search through the rubble of a collapsed building in Thane, 5 April 2013 The collapse of the building highlighted widespread shoddy building standards in India

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Indian police have arrested nine people they suspect of colluding to illegally construct a high-rise residential building in Mumbai which collapsed, killing 74 people.

Those arrested include two builders, police officers and municipality officials.

The apartment building came crashing down on Thursday.

Correspondents say building collapses are common in India, with poor construction practices often blamed.

India's deadly collapses

  • 19 Dec 2012: 13 die in Wagholi, Maharashtra
  • 24 Sept 2012: 6 die in Pune, Maharashtra
  • 15 April 2012: 23 workers killed in blanket factory collapse in Jalandhar
  • 16 Nov 2010: 69 killed and more than 80 injured in Delhi
  • 18 Aug 2010: School building collapse kills 18 children in Uttarakhand
  • 26 Jan 2010: 23 killed in Bellary, Karnataka
  • 23 Sept 2009: Chimney of a power plant in Chhattisgarh caves in, 40 killed
  • 13 Aug 2008: 20 die in Mumbai
  • 18 July 2007: 29 killed in Mumbai

There is huge demand for housing, and corruption often leads to cost-cutting and a lack of safety inspections, correspondents say.

Police commissioner K P Raghuvanshi said the builders were arrested for allegedly paying bribes to police and municipal officials to construct the building in the Mumbai suburb of Thane without any official sanction.

Mr Raghuvanshi said on Sunday that the nine would be formally charged with culpable homicide and causing death by negligence, once the investigation into the accident had been completed.

If convicted, they face sentences of up to life in prison.

Most of the victims of the Thane collapse were poor daily wage earners working at the site, and their families. The dead included 30 children and 18 women.

Building work had continued at the block even though four floors were already occupied.

One police official told the BBC that the collapse appeared to have been caused by the use of substandard building material.

Witnesses said the construction of the building started just six weeks ago, since when seven floors had been built. The eighth floor was under construction.

In a similar collapse in 2010, 69 people were killed in Delhi.

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