Gummidipoondi Sipcot Police, who discovered that the lift had been erected illegally and was not part of the construction plan, booked Jayapriya, manager D Thirunavukarasu, 32, lift manager S Kakkan, 23 , and supervisor B Venkatesan, 40, for culpable homicide. does not amount to murder. While Jayapriya is on the run, the others have been arrested.
At around 8 p.m. Friday, Seethan, a temporary employee of a catering company, boarded the elevator to the JFN wedding hall with two colleagues from the 3rd floor on the ground floor. The cable broke and the car fell. Sheetal sustained a head injury and was pronounced dead in hospital. Two others were injured.
“It (the elevator) was not part of the government-approved building plan and had been operating illegally since 2015. It had no door and was supported by a simple plank of wood surrounded by plastic sheeting,” said a policeman. Its capacity was 350kg, but nearly a tonne of food (in drums) was on the elevator floor at the time, he added.
Under the TN Town and Country Planning Act of 1971, local bodies are empowered (sections 56 and 57) to act on deviations from approved housing plans by demolishing illegal structures or issuing notice locking and sealing to owners. In this case, the Gummidipoondi City Panchayat ignored the violations for over seven years.
Despite attempts, R Selvaraj, Commissioner, City Panchayat Department, could not be reached for comment.