Sohel Rana, owner of the Savar building that caved in on April 24 killing at least 442 people, has said they illegally raised the upper floors against permission to construct a six-storey structure.
Both Rana and his father Abdul Khaleq, who is the building owner on papers, also admitted their liability saying they had failed to control the quality of both construction and materials, said an interrogator.
“They also named to us three engineers who had been involved in the construction,” said the interrogator asking not to be named.
Police yesterday arrested one of the engineers, Abdur Razzak, 50, who had visited the building after the cracks developed on April 23 and allegedly held out the assurance that those would cause “no harm”.
Besides Razzak, a former engineer of Jahangirnagar University, was hired as the consultant for the ninth floor, which was under construction during the collapse.
“We have arrested Razzak in Savar. He gave false certification about the building that Rana had asked for as they were very close,” said Superintendent of Police of Dhaka Habibur Rahman.
Sources say Razzak graduated in civil engineering from Buet in 1988. He started his own consultancy business in Savar after resigning from JU recently.
Police have been trying to net the other two engineers.
Earlier, the police arrested executive engineer Imtemam Hossain and assistant engineer Alam Miah of Savar Municipality for the same false certification about the cracks.
As interrogators started questioning Rana about his dealing in illegal firearms and drugs on the second day of the 15-day remand, he complained of chest pains around 10:30pm on Wednesday.
Police admitted him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and later shifted him to Birdem Hospital. After around four hours he was taken back as doctors found no major problems following a checkup.
Rana is a diabetic patient and allegedly used to take contraband drugs Phensidyl and yaba.
“Rana’s father Abdul Khaleq alias Kolu Khaleq is also an alcoholic,” said SP Habibur Rahman, adding, they were also trying to find how Khaleq became the owner of huge black money.
Rana also admitted that initially he had an agreement with a developer named Tanmoy Housing to build the structure. But later he scrapped the deal due to slow pace of work. At that time, construction of the first floor was going on.
He is also said to have very good relations with local lawmaker Towhid Jong Murad, which the ruling Awami League leader had denied earlier.
In another development, three detained associates of Rana who helped him in his attempt to flee confessed to their offences before a Dhaka court yesterday.
The court recorded the statements of Abul Hossain, relative of Rana, Anil Das and Shah Alam Mithu and sent them to jail.
Court sources say Abul in his confession said after the building collapsed Rana called him and sought his help to flee from the country. Accordingly, Rana visited his Faridpur house. Abul later sought help from Anil who had acquaintance with Mithu, a C&F agent. Later at night on Saturday, the three started for Benapole.
Abul and Anil gave identical statements, while Mithu confessed to trying to send Rana to India illegally.
If the charges [assisting a man accused of murder] against them are proved, they will be sentenced to a minimum of three years’ to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.
Source: The Daily Star