Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, whose party leaders are among those being investigated for the building collapse in Thane, today said the state should send out a strong signal to politicians patronising illegal constructions.
"I appeal to the state government that wherever there are illegal buildings, whoever is the MLA, whether it belongs to Jitendra Ahwad or someone else, bring down these constructions first," Mr Pawar said.
"By doing this you will send a signal to those involved in illegal constructions. Bring down illegal buildings connected to powerful people, not those belonging to the common man," he said.
The seven-storey illegal building collapsed in Mumbra in Thane district on April 4, killing 75 people.
NCP corporator Hira Patil was arrested for failing to stop the unauthorised construction despite receiving a complaint. He allegedly took a bribe from the builders. Earlier this week, Jitendra Ahwad, a local NCP legislator, admitted he stopped forest officials from clearing illegal huts in Thane.
"I have been told 70 per cent of buildings in these areas are illegal. These things have to be seen in context," Mr Pawar said. "We should send out a signal that we will not tolerate illegal buildings. But we cannot ignore the interests of the common man."
The illegal building was built with sub-standard material. An eighth floor was being added when it collapsed. Fifteen people, including the builders, local politicians and top civic officials, were arrested.