Mumbai: Three office-bearers of a housing society, along with an elevator contractor and a technician, have been booked by the Mankhurd police following the death of a 10-year-old boy. Rudra Barhate, a resident of Suprabhat building in Lallubhai Compound, Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road, Mankhurd, reportedly fell down the lift shaft from the seventh floor to the ground floor. Although the incident occurred on July 7, the police only provided information about it on Wednesday. The accident is believed to have been caused by a malfunctioning lift.
Initially, the police filed an accidental death report (ADR) and launched an investigation. However, on Tuesday night, the ADR was converted into a first information report (FIR) based on a complaint filed by the victim's mother, Priyanka (30). Rudra had been sent by his mother to a nearby grocery shop around 10:20 am, which was part of their daily routine. Priyanka stated that she heard people shouting and noticed individuals coming down the stairs instead of using the lift. When she reached the ground floor, she discovered that the lift had fallen and her son was lying in a pool of blood. Recognising the dress, she realised it was her son Rudra. He was taken to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar but was declared dead upon arrival.
Residents had urged for immediate repairs of elevator recently
Around 15 to 20 days prior to this tragic accident, several residents of the building, including Rudra's uncle Prashant, had posted in the society's WhatsApp group, drawing the attention of the building's secretary, Vedprakash Gupta, president Jandev V Shinde, and treasurer Janardhan Ajarkar, to the faults in the building's lift. Residents complained about frequent shutdowns of the lift and non-functional emergency buttons and phone services. They insisted on immediate repairs to prevent any untoward incidents, but their concerns went unanswered. On July 6, the day before the accident, Prashant noticed that the emergency buttons in the lift were still not functioning. While searching for Ajarkar to inform him, he saw Ajarkar and technician Aslam Sheikh doing some repair work on the lift on the ground floor. Prashant told the police that he suggested to Ajarkar that the lift should be closed until it was safe to use, but his suggestion was reportedly ignored.
On the day of the incident, Rudra took some groceries from the shop and entered the lift on the ground floor. Since he lived on the 5th floor, he pressed the 5th-floor button. However, due to a malfunction, the lift went to the 7th floor and stopped 13 to 14 inches above the door.
Police suspect boy may have panicked after lift malfunctioned
Police suspect that the lift must have halted between the 7th and 8th floors, and given the non-functional emergency button and call button, Rudra likely panicked and attempted to open the door without success. Failing in his attempts, he may have tried to escape through the gap in the lift grills and fell all the way down to the ground floor. He suffered major injuries to his ribs, skull, and other body parts, resulting in significant blood loss and ultimately leading to his death.
In her complaint, Priyanka blamed the three members of the housing society, as well as technician Aslam Sheikh and lift maintenance contractor Mohammad Sheikh, for alleged negligence. She alleged that Aslam Sheikh lacked technical knowledge about lift maintenance or repair work and had previously worked as a helper in Mohammad Sheikh's company for several years. The Mankhurd police officials have booked all the accused under section 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. A special probe has been initiated to examine the technical aspects of the incident. The police stated that all the accused will be summoned to cooperate with the investigation before any arrests are made.