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Deadly Bangladesh Collapse: Building Owner Arrested

Sohel Rana, the fugitive owner of an illegally constructed building that collapsed last week in Bangladesh, killing some 377 people, is paraded by Rapid Action Battalion commandoes for the media in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sunday.
Palash Khan

Bangladeshi authorities arrested Sunday the owner of the building that collapsed last week outside the capital, Dhaka, killing more than 300 people.

Sohel Rana was detained near the Indian border and flown back to the capital. He was reportedly trying to cross the border between the two countries. Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha , the country's official news agency reports:

"Officials said Rana would be exposed to trial on several charges and under diffident laws including the Building Construction Act.

"The arrest came three days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered arrest of Rana and the owners of the garments factories housed in the structure.

"The factory owners reportedly forced several thousand workers join the production lines even after cracks were reported and warnings were issued about their exposure to fatal collapse."

Rana was presented before the media briefly in Dhaka. He did not speak. He is expected to make a court appearance within 24 hours of being charged.

At least 377 people have been confirmed dead in last week's collapse of the eight-story structure, parts of which were illegally built. The building housed shops, a bank and several garment factories, a key part of Bangladesh's economy.

As Korva reported on Saturday, authorities arrested at least seven people in connection with the collapse, including two engineers and two garment factory owners. BSS reported that Rana's 25-year-old wife was also detained, along with his cousin.

The Associated Press reports that news of Rana's arrest was greeted with cheers and claps at the scene of the collapsed building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar. The AP also reported that nine people were located alive inside the rubble of the collapsed building on Sunday. But the effort to rescue them may be hampered by a fire that has broken out at the collapsed factory.

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Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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