Three people, including a 40-year-old man who was returning home after immersing his wife's ashes, were killed after a 40-feet hoarding at a railway station in Pune fell on vehicles on the adjacent road, police said.
The hoarding collapsed on vehicles which had stopped at a traffic light near Pune Railway Station. Five people have been injured in the incident.
The hoarding was being dismantled by a contractor when it came crashing down, Deputy Commissioner of Police B Singh said.
The dead have been identified as Shamrao Kasar (70), Shamrao Dhotre (48) and Shivaji Pardeshi. Mr Pardeshi's wife had passed away yesterday.
A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against the contractor and his workers. "Since it was afternoon, there was not much traffic. Had there been more traffic, there would have been many more casualties," a local resident said.
A Central Railway official said they had initiated an inquiry. "We have constituted a high-level committee to probe the incident," Pune Divisional Railway Manager Milind Deouskar said.
The railways had given a contract to an outdoor advertisement agency to put up hoardings on the railway premises a few years ago, but as the agency did not follow safety norms, it was asked to remove the structures, he said.
"As the agency did not dismantle the structures, we hired a contractor to dismantle them," Mr Deouskar said. The railways will provide compensation to the families of the deceased and medical help to the injured, he said.
For more Pune news, click here.