Bangladeshi police said Saturday they had arrested two owners of garment factories based at the eight-storey building that collapsed outside the capital as the death toll rose to at least 324, AFP reports.
"We've arrested Bazlus Samad, the chairman of New Wave Buttons and New Wave Style factories, and Mahmudur Rahaman Tapash, a managing director of one of these plants, after midnight," deputy chief of Dhaka police Shyaml Mukherjee told AFP.
Police have filed a case against them for "death due to negligence", he said, after the prime minister said the owners forced the workers to return to work despite cracks having appeared in the building a day earlier.
Survivors said the building developed visible cracks on Tuesday evening, but factory bosses had demanded staff return to the production lines despite a police evacuation order.
One manager for the New Wave Styles company, one of the five manufacturers in the building, said the owner had consulted an engineer but then ignored his warnings.
"Those who're involved, especially the owner who forced the workers to work there, will be punished," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told lawmakers. "Wherever he is, he will be found and brought to justice."
The death toll in the disaster rose to 324 early Saturday after rescuers removed more bodies -- most in a state of decay -- from the wreckage, Mukherjee said, adding some workers were pulled out alive as the desperate hunt for survivors continued through the night.
"Two of them were pulled out alive just a few minutes back (nearly 70 hours after the disaster)," he said.