MUMBAI—Indian police on Wednesday arrested the owner of several apartments in a four-storey building that collapsed in Mumbai killing 17 people, an official said, adding the cause of the disaster was likely unauthorized renovation.
Sunil Shitap, whose wife contested municipal elections this year for the Shiv Sena regional political party, was charged with culpable homicide, the official said.
The death toll from the Tuesday collapse of the 40-year-old building in the eastern suburbs of India’s financial hub more than doubled overnight to 17 as rescuers removed debris, a fire official said.
The building housed a nursing home on the ground floor and three to four families on each of the other floors.
Media reported that Shitap owned all the ground floor apartments at the site and had converted them into a nursing home. He had been conducting renovations at the building ahead of the collapse.
Shitap was not immediately reachable for comment over the phone.
On Tuesday, the Maharashtra state chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, visited the site and assured action would be taken against those responsible for the tragedy.
“The building wasn’t on the list of dilapidated buildings,” Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar told reporters on Tuesday. “We will investigate whether the building fell because of an alteration in the structure.”
In 2013, 145 people were killed in three separate building collapses around Mumbai, on India’s western coast, the highest toll in recent years.