The owner of a decoration firm who illegally carried out "faulty" renovation at his rented office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor of the ill-fated building has been arrested in connection with the incident.
"The death toll in the collapse has risen to 43 and 32 people are injured," civic body sources told PTI and added that more people were still believed to trapped under the debris. The injured have been admitted to state-run JJ Hospital and Nair Hospital.
The five-storey building on the Brahmadev Khot Marg, close to Dockyard Road railway station, was owned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. It had collapsed early yesterday morning. As hopes of pulling out survivors receded fast, anxious relatives of those missing were thronging the scene of the tragedy.
Cranes and other heavy machinery have been pressed into service to lift large slabs of concrete and mangled steel. Around 21 families of BMC's tenants lived in the 30-year-old structure categorised as a C-2 building which was in need of urgent repairs. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has promised strict action against those found responsible for the tragedy.
The BMC has formed two committees to probe into the incident and ordered audit of similar buildings in the city. Steps are being made to provide alternative accommodation to the affected families in the vicinity. The civic body has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the families of every deceased person, besides bearing the cost of treatment of those injured.
"Ashok Mehta, the owner of Mamamiya Decorators, has been arrested for renovating his office-cum-warehouse on the ground floor of the building, thus causing the collapse," said an officer at Sewree police station, where a complaint has been registered.