Police in Bangladesh plan to press murder charges against Sohel Rana – the owner of a nine-story factory that collapsed last April, killing more than 1,100 garment industry workers in what was the worst industrial disaster in the nation’s history.
If convicted, Rana could be sentenced to death. The head of the Rana Plaza complex outside the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, Rana is one of approximately 40 people who will be charged in connection with the catastrophic building collapse, according to police. Others expected to face prosecution include five bosses and Rana’s father, who co-owned the complex.
While Rana is jailed, most of the accused are out on bail. One of the bosses – a Spanish citizen named David Mayor – was out of the country when the collapse occurred and has not returned to Bangladesh so as to avoid arrest. Rana was arrested while trying to flee Bangladesh and already faces charges related to building code violations and constructing the complex without government approval.
Investigators expect to formally file murder charges this month – more than a year after the April 24, 2013, collapse killed at least 1,135 people. “Our investigation is almost over. We wanted to wrap up our work before the first anniversary of the tragedy, but even writing up the case notes has proved to be a huge task,” Investigator Habibur Rahman told Agence France Presse.
On the day the building crumbled, thousands of laborers – among the worst paid industrial workers in the world – were forced by factory bosses to enter the complex and start their jobs despite the fact that cracks were apparent in the building, survivors have said.