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Builder, architect among eight to face trial in labourers’ death case

Updated May 06, 2019


A court issues warrants against three partners and licensed professionals of the under-construction Clifton building. — DawnNewsTV/File
A court issues warrants against three partners and licensed professionals of the under-construction Clifton building. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: A court has ordered trial of eight suspects, including builders, architect and engineer, in a case pertaining to the killing of six labourers who died after a construction lift buckled in Clifton.

Six labourers, including two brothers, had died after falling from an under-construction high-rise building in Block 7 of Clifton on March 9.

Initially, the police booked builder Mohammad Amin Patel of M/s Land Mark Enterprises along with private contractors Irfan-ur-Rehman of the contractor firm for glasses/lifts and Moosa Iqbal in a case registered under Sections 322 (manslaughter) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Boat Basin police station.

A court issues warrants against three partners and licensed professionals of the under-construction Clifton building

However, the judicial magistrate (South) ordered the trial of eight suspects, including three partners of the under-construction project — Abdul Aziz Memon, Muhammad Munir Memon and Ameer Ali — architect Habib Fida Ali and engineer Khalil Ahmed.

The investigating officer, Inspector Sohail Akhtar Salahri, had filed a charge sheet against the builder and both contractors for their trial under Section 322 and 34 of the PPC. However, he did not name the architect and engineer and also placed the builder’s three partners in the column No 2 in blue ink, meaning they may be tried if sufficient evidence was found against them.

Prosecutor Dewan Bhuromal prepared a scrutiny note of the charge sheet and found that the IO had not included the project’s partners as well as licensed professionals, including the architect and engineer, in the case.

He recommended that all the suspects be tried under Sections 322 (manslaughter) 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 34 (common intention) of the PPC.

After hearing the IO and the prosecutor and examining the record, the judge observed that all the three suspects, shown in the column No 2 with blue ink in the charge sheet, during interrogatory statements had admitted their partnership with the active owner/developer M/s Land Mark Enterprises by claiming to be sleeping partners, but they all could not produce any documentary evidence in respect of their claim.

In the scrutiny note, the prosecutor said that in the light of evidence/reports available on record, all the suspects charge sheeted and let off by the IO and the licensed professionals had committed serious negligence towards work of fixing glasses at the place of the incident being carried out by the unfortunate labourers in such a risky manner.

Resultantly, the prosecutor concluded that the six unfortunate labourers lost their precious lives hence, all the suspects were liable to face charges under Sections 322, 287 and 34 of the PPC.

The judge wrote that the charge sheet of the police was not binding upon the courts and the court could refuse to take cognizance on a positive report and also referred to the judgement of the Sindh High Court (in the case of Riaz Ahmed and others versus the province of Sindh).

“Admittedly, the suspects mentioned in the column-II with blue ink are the investors and are/will receive the benefit from their investment, therefore, they have to be vigilant for safety of the building and they are not supposed to only receive the profit. Hence, they have to take measure regarding safety steps,” the judge added.

The judge ruled that there was a clear negligence on their part, which could not be left unnoticed, likewise the licensed professionals.

The judge concluded that sufficient evidence was available against all the suspects, including those charge sheeted/let off by the IO and the licensed professionals.

The court took cognizance against all of them and issued non-bailable arrest warrants against the three partners and licensed professionals.

In the scrutiny note, the prosecutor pointed out that IO recorded statements of the witnesses and also obtained the project’s approved building plan from the Sindh Building Control Authority and its terms and conditions.

According to the plan, the licensed architect had undertaken the responsibility of supervision of the construction work of the said building/project, he said.

A report, provided by the SBCA, further revealed that as per Condition No. 4 of the Structure No-objection Certificate, the structural engineer was also responsible to depute full-time engineers at the construction site to instruct the deputies and the contractors always in writing, he added.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2019