Police on Friday filed a 1,263-page chargesheet in the Morbi suspension bridge collapse case that had occurred in Morbi town of Gujarat in October last year, in which 135 people were killed. The chargesheet names Jaysukh Patel, Oreva Group’s Managing Director as the main accused behind the incident that occurred on 30th October.
Deputy Superintendent of Police PS Zala, who is the case’s investigating officer, filed the charge sheet, which has 1,262 pages, in the Morbi sessions court. According to sources, Jaysukh Patel of the Oreva Group, which formerly ran the bridge, has been named as the tenth accused in the charge sheet in addition to the nine accused who are already in jail. A magistrate’s court has already issued an arrest warrant for Jaysukh Patel in relation to the bridge collapse incident.
The police said that they have recorded the statements of 367 witnesses in total, including the family members of the deceased and injured people. The charge sheet also includes a list of all the private hospital doctors and civil hospital doctors who treated the injured. Other witnesses to this incident provided statements that were also recorded.
“In addition to Jaysukh Patel, who is the main accused in the case, we have filed a charge sheet against nine other people. The accused have been charged for failing to manage the suspension bridge with due care and diligence”, Rahul Tripathi, the superintendent of police for the Morbi district told the local news while adding that the process of submitting a chargesheet to the district court was underway.
The other nine accused are Prakash Parmar, age 61, and Devang Parmar, age 31, subcontractors who carried out the repair work; Dipak Parekh and Dinesh Dave, managers of the Oreva Group; Mansukh Topia, Mahadev Solanki, Alpesh Gohil, Dilip Gohil, and Mukesh Chauhan, ticket takers and security guards who worked at the bridge.
The FIR was filed under several Indian Penal Code sections, including 304 and 114. According to the charges the responsible organization, Oreva, is accused of “gross negligence and carelessness” for opening the bridge for tourist traffic despite “knowing that it could endanger common people.”
The company had admitted in court on Wednesday that “some wrong” had been done while it was in charge. Patel proposed paying out compensation to the deceased’s heirs during the hearing. The court made it clear that the Overa group’s offer to compensate the families of the deceased would not have any bearing on Patel’s legal actions.
“One thing needs to be made abundantly clear. The state will not back down from taking legal or criminal action despite compensation. The process will go on,” the Gujarat High Court said, a local news channel reported. The hearing for Patel’s anticipatory bail plea will take place on February 1.
On October 30 of this year, the Morbi suspension bridge from the British era collapsed. A local news report states that the company only spent Rs 12 lakh, or 6% of the allocated Rs 2 crore on the project, as a result of the investigation. Patel declared on October 24 that the bridge was prepared and secure enough to reopen on Gujarati New Year. In connection with the case, nine people have been arrested so far, including four group employees.