DHAKA, July 15 Bangladesh's anti-corruption
agency filed charges on Wednesday against 18 people accused of
breaching regulations over the construction of a building that
collapsed last year killing more than 1,130 people.
The April 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza, built on swampy
ground outside Dhaka, ranks amongst the world's worst industrial
accidents and sparked a global outcry for improved safety. Most
of the victims were garment workers.
The accused include the owner of the building, Mohammad
Sohel Rana, and his parents, the local mayor, engineers and
three owners of garment factories that used the building.
The Anti-Corruption Commission had previously not listed
Rana as his name did not appear in documents covering ownership
of the land and design approval, which instead listed his
"The charge sheet has been filed against 18 people,
including Rana after further investigation found his
involvement," commission spokesman Pranab Kumar Bhattachajee
Of the accused, Bhattachajee said: "Investigation found that
they grossly breached the building code."
Municipal officials gave permission for extra floors in the
building, but they had no such authority, he added.
Rana is in detention since he was arrested after a four-day
hunt shortly after the building collapsed, apparently trying to
flee across the border to India.
Low labour costs and, critics say, shortcuts on safety, make
Bangladesh, the second-largest exporter of ready-made garments,
the cheapest place to make large quantities of clothing.
Last year, the government raised the minimum wage for
garment workers by 77 percent to 5,300 taka ($68) and amended
the labour law to boost workers' rights.
But erratic decision-making over inspection of factories
poses a new set of problems for the $24 billion industry, which
accounts for 80 percent of exports. Turmoil in the sector has
put at risk the livelihoods of nearly 4 million garment workers,
mostly women. [ID: nL4N0P80HY]
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Ron Popeski)