Bangladesh panel to recommend life in prison over building collapse

DHAKA Tue May 21, 2013 5:57pm IST

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) present Mohammed Sohel Rana to the media after his arrest in Jessore, in Dhaka April 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) present Mohammed Sohel Rana to the media after his arrest in Jessore, in Dhaka April 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

DHAKA (Reuters) - A committee investigating a deadly collapse of a building housing garment factories in Bangladesh will recommend that nine people detained in connection with the disaster be sentenced to life in prison, the panel's chief said on Tuesday.

The six-member committee, due to submit its conclusions to the government on Thursday, has singled out shoddy construction and the improper issue of building permits as the main reasons for the accident which killed more than 1,100 people.

"We asked the government to give the highest punishment to all the accused as it was nothing but gross negligence of responsibilities for which 1,130 innocent workers were killed," Mainuddin Khandaker, a senior interior ministry official, told Reuters.

A life sentence handed down in Bangladeshi courts generally means a 30-year prison term. The accident has sparked campaigns in the West to improve safety standards at plants supplying major fashion brands.

The owner of the Rana Plaza building, Mohammed Sohel Rana, was arrested after a four-day hunt as he appeared to be fleeing to neighbouring India.

Also in custody are Rana's father, owners of most of the factories in the complex as well as engineers and officials who approved the building permits for the eight-storey complex in the Dhaka suburb of Savar.

"The construction materials were substandard and under specifications," Khandaker said, referring to the ratio of sand and cement used in construction.

Relatives of the dead have filed murder complaints against Rana and others in detention. Rana, a leader of the ruling Awami League's youth front, appeared in court this month before a crowd of protesters demanding he be hanged.

Also serving on the government-appointed committee are the Dhaka district police chief, a senior industrial police officer, a top factory inspector and two other senior officials.

The accident was the world's deadliest industrial disaster since the Bhopal gas leak accident in India in 1984.

There were about 3,000 people inside the complex, which was built on a swamp, when it collapsed. Rescue work went on for more than two weeks.

The committee will also recommend selling the land on which Rana Plaza was built to create a fund to help victims and relatives. It will also ask that all factories be inspected and the findings be posted at factory gates.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

Kashmir Attack

Kashmir Attack

Ten dead in Kashmir's worst militant attack in more than a year.  Full Article 

Cricketing Tragedy

Cricketing Tragedy

A sport left heartbroken by death of Hughes  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

GDP growth to slow to 5.1 pct, but no rate cut yet - Reuters Poll.  Full Article 

Online Boom

Online Boom

Online grocers come up trumps in India's e-commerce boom.  Full Article 

Racial Unrest

Racial Unrest

Protests in Ferguson, elsewhere dwindle after two nights of unrest.  Full Article 

Suicide Blast

Suicide Blast

Suicide bomber kills five in attack on British embassy car in Kabul - officials.  Full Article 

A Minute With: Nandita Das

A Minute With: Nandita Das

A telephone interview with actress Nandita Das.  Full Article 

Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy

Photo Gallery – Bengali household name Jamini Roy’s paintings  Full Article 

Miss Wheelchair India

Miss Wheelchair India

India's second wheelchair beauty pageant.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage