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Mumbai building collapse kills 17 in India

MUMBAI BUILDING COLLAPSE KILLS 17 IN INDIA

Search and rescue efforts continued into Wednesday evening in Mumbai, the site of a four-story building collapse a day earlier.

It is not clear if there are still survivors among the debris, said a local official who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The death toll currently stands at 17, and Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has ordered an investigation into the incident.

According to local accounts, the collapse happened due to renovation work on a ground floor nursing home owned by Sunil Shitap, a local influential leader of Shiv Sena, part of India's ruling coalition. Shitap has been arrested and booked for culpable homicide.

Joint Commissioner of Police Deven Bharti said, "We have received information that the accused was renovating the ground floor illegally. However, we are investigating the matter."

Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, also visited the site and asked municipal officials to file a report on the incident.

"The offence has been registered. Police are investigating the matter. I have directed the BMC [Mumbai municipal] commissioner to investigate and submit a report within 15 days," Fadnavis told reporters.

Building accidents are quite common during the monsoon season, as many people live in cramped, dilapidated buildings in Mumbai, where real estate prices are high.

Mumbai has witnessed many deadly building collapses in recent years. In 2013, 145 people lost their lives due to building collapses.

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