"This building will stand a hundred years," he boasted on April 23.
The next morning, it came down.
Rana, who fled after the disaster but was arrested trying to cross into India, is in police custody. He is a man so hated that even the most pacifist of Bangladeshis wish death upon him.
There was a time when fliers bearing his beaming face festooned the walls around Savar. They've now either been torn down or defaced.
"Kutta!" someone had scrawled on one.
Kutta, the Bengali word for dog.
A cracked system
But, human rights activists say, if fingers are to be pointed, there are plenty of targets and plenty of blame to go around.
And in the next few days and months, Bangladeshis will have to acknowledge the rude reality that it wasn't just a cracked building; the deaths were as much a result of a cracked system.
The garment industry is a $20 billion-a-year money-generator for Bangladesh. Some 4,500 factories employ 3.6 million workers and account for 77% of the country's exports.
Deadly accidents and deplorable conditions are all too common, but pay is still a lure for many in this impoverished country, where the minimum wage is the equivalent of $38 a month.
And so, the workers continued to work. And the government continued to turn a blind eye to the disasters.
In the last decade, despite several other deadly accidents, no factory owner has faced charges in court.
The outrage over Savar has reached such a fever pitch that the government not only arrested Rana and the owners of the factories in the building, but it also said it will form a committee to raise the minimum wage of garment workers.
On Monday, the government went a step further. Bangladesh's Cabinet approved the draft of a law that will force factories to offer life insurance for workers.
Internationally, several clothiers signed on to a plan to help prevent fire and building collapses in Bangladesh. Among the clothiers are H&M and Inditex -- which owns the Spanish brand Zara -- and PVH, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
The five-year plan calls for independent safety inspections and for companies to publicly report the findings. It also requires retailers to help finance fire safety and building improvements in factories with which they work.
Companies who sign on will have to terminate business with any factory that refuses to make necessary safety upgrades.
PVH is the only American company to sign on. A Wal-Mart spokesman said the world's largest retailer had nothing to announce right now. And Sears said it "assessing" the agreement.
"This is a crucial victory in the fight for companies to take responsibility for the workers who make our clothes," said Ruth Tanner with the charity War on Want.
"A tragedy like the Rana Plaza disaster cannot happen again."
But for many garment workers, it was a case of too little, too late.
In Ashuriya, a Dhaka suburb close to Savar, the garment trade group on Monday night shut down 100 factories indefinitely. Workers there had refused to work, citing safety fears.