New Delhi: The contractor who was arrested in connection with the Ghaziabad crematorium roof collapse incident on Wednesday confessed that he had bribed Muradnagar Nagar Palika officials of Rs 16 lakh to secure the contract. The contractor, Ajay Tyagi who is the main accused in the Sunday’s roof collapse incident that claimed 24 lives and many others injured was arrested from a village near the border of Meerut and Muzaffarnagar districts of Uttar Pradesh, police said on Tuesday.

According to a India TV report, contractor Tyagi has confessed before police that he gave a bribe of Rs 16 lakh to the officials and also accepted that he used inferior quality material to construct the roof. Tyagi, 45, also claimed that he paid 30 per cent commission to junior engineer and other officials to secure tenders.

Initially, Tyagi had just secured the contract for renovation of the crematorium ground, but later he formed a cartel in order to continue the work at the site and even constructed the roof. The accused even has three firms registered under his name — Ajay Tyagi Construction, Mahi Construction and Builders, and Krishna Associates with the Muradnagar Nagar Palika. Tyagi reportedly used to secure tenders worth Rs 20-25 crore every year.

Earlier on Monday, Ghaziabad Police has even arrested Muradnagar Nagar Palika Executive Officer Niharika Singh, Junior Engineer Chandra Pal and Supervisor Ashish as they were involved in the tendering process for building the structure. They were sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

Contractor Ajay Tyagi, who went into hiding after news of the collapse spread, was nabbed near the Ganga canal bridge of Sathedi village by a joint team of Muradnagar and Niwari police, the officials said.

Earlier, police were raiding his possible hideouts, and Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani had announced a reward of Rs 25,000 for information leading to his arrest, said Superintendent of Police (Rural) Iraj Raja.

Tyagi was booked under various sections of the law, and he will be produced before a court on Tuesday, the police said.

A tender of Rs 55 lakh, and not Rs 55 crore as reported earlier, was awarded to Tyagi for renovation and construction of shelter three months ago, and the shelter was opened to the public 15 days back.

The SP said a probe was underway to examine how much substandard material was used in the construction. After the investigation, corruption charges would be added, he added.