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Dhaka Tribune

Three factory owners held, Rana still on the run

Update : 28 Apr 2013, 08:14 AM

Law enforcers were, until yesterday evening, unable to arrest Sohel Rana the owner of Rana Plaza, which collapsed on Wednesday killing more than 367 people. One out of the four owners of factories that were housed in the establishment was also at large. The three under arrest turned themselves in yesterday.

A Dhaka court gave law enforcers 12 days to grill the two owners and eight days to question two Savar municipality engineers, who allegedly cleared the building for operations. The third owner –Aminul Islam of Phantom Apparels - was detained last night.

Savar Model Police Station’s sub-inspector (SI) Mohammad Kayser Matubbor appealed to Dhaka’s senior judicial magistrate Tajul Islam for 14 days to question the four in relation to the two cases filed over the Savar tragedy.

Detective police picked up the owners of New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms, Bazlus Samad Adnan and Mahmudur Rahman Tapash respectively, after they surrendered to law enforcers at the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) building around 12:30pm.

BGMEA chief, Atiqul Islam, said, “We urged them to surrender and they did.” Dhaka range police’s deputy inspector general (DIG) Mohammad Nuruzzaman told the Dhaka Tribune that the pair was arrested over the cases filed in Savar.

Savar police station Sub-Inspector Wali Ashraf Khan filed a case on Wednesday accusing six people including the building’s owner for negligence demanded compensations amounting Tk350m.

Mohammed Helal Ahmed, who was authorised to do so by the capital development authority Rajuk, filed another case with Savar police against Sohel Rana for violating Bangladesh’s building code. Executive Engineer Intemam Hossain and Assistant Engineer Alam Miah of Savar municipality, were picked up from their residences around 4:30pm, Dhaka’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Habibur Rahman said.

The engineers were arrested for dismissing the warning that the building was risky, even after industrial police, following an inspection on Tuesday, informed building and factories authorities that the structure was unstable, he added.

However, state minister for labour, Monnujan Sufian, had said after the incident that the local upazila executive officer (UNO) was the one who declared the building risk-free.

Rana Plaza also housed three other factories – Phantom Apparel, Phantom TAC Ltd and Ether Textiles Ltd. Aminul Islam owns the Phantom factories while Md Anisur Rahman owns Ether Textiles.

The police official also claimed in response to queries about their progress on apprehending Sohel Rana, the building’s owner, that they have been conducting raids and interrogating his relatives to find a breakthrough. Five of them including his wife Mukta Akhter have been questioned.

The others are his cousin Jahangir Alam, Alam’s wife Munni Begum, Rana’s uncle Anwar Hossain, brother-in-law Mominul Haque Momin and tenant Mahbubur Rahman Tushar.

On Tuesday, cracks appeared on a number of pillars and floors of Rana Plaza. Work for the day was cancelled and the workers were sent off after lunch. However, following clearance, they were forced to return to work on Wednesday.

A few hours into the day, the eight-storey building collapsed killing over 350 individuals and injuring thousands. Two days after the incident, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered the immediate arrest of the owners of the building and the factories.  

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