Malvani Building collapse: HC grants bail to owner who lost his nine family members

On April 9, 2021, a ground plus two storeyed building constructed 8 years back, situated at Malvani (West), Mumbai collapsed on the adjoining structure killing 12 persons including nine family members of Siddiqui.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, August 12, 2022, 12:16 AM IST
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Malvani Building collapse: HC grants bail to owner who lost his nine family members | Photo: BL Soni

The Bombay High Court has granted bail to Mohammed Rafique Siddique, the owner of a Malvani building that crashed on an adjoining structure last year. Siddique himself lost nine family members, including his wife, brother and six minor children, in the incident.

While granting bail, Justice Bhati Dangre observed that the applicant, in any case, cannot be held responsible for the “rash and negligent act, resulting in the collapse where he himself lost his family members”. The court, however, said that Siddiqui “may face the consequences of the trial when the prosecution will establish and connect him to the grave and negligent act”.

On April 9, 2021, the eight-year-old two-storeyed structure in Malvani West collapsed on the adjoining building, killing 12 persons, including nine members of Siddiqui’s family.

On June 10 last year, the police arrested one Ramzan Nabi Shaikh who constructed the building. The sessions court rejected his bail plea on July 19, noting the gravity of the accusation. The court noted that there was sufficient material against Shaikh to the effect that he was responsible for carrying out the construction of inferior quality.

Siddiqui surrendered before the trial court on August 9, when the chargesheet was filed in the case, where he was named as an accused. He was taken into judicial custody and his bail plea was rejected. He was lodged at the Thane Central Prison.

The chargesheet revealed that the building had developed cracks during cyclone Nisarg, which had passed over Mumbai. Siddiqui brought this to Shaikh’s attention who assured to take appropriate steps in the form of angles to prevent further damage. However, that work, too, was shoddy and the building collapsed.

The HC observed, “At present, in the wake of the nature of the offence and the evidence collected by the prosecution and compiled in the chargesheet, the applicant cannot be continued in detention and deserves his release on bail.” He has been directed to be released on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one or two sureties of the like amount.

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