Gujarat: Promoter of Oreva group named in chargesheet in Morbi bridge collapse case
Police on Friday filed a chargesheet in the suspension bridge collapse incident that had occurred in Morbi town of Gujarat in October last year, in which 135 people were killed.
The charge-sheet, which runs into more than 1,200 pages, was filed in the Morbi sessions court by Deputy Superintendent of Police P S Zala, who is the investigating officer of the case.
In addition to the nine accused who are already behind bars, Jaysukh Patel, the promoter of Oreva Group and managing director of Ajanta Manufacturing Limited, has been named as the tenth accused in the charge-sheet, sources said.
Ajanta Manufacturing Limited (Oreva Group) was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the British-era suspension bridge on the Machchhu river that had collapsed.
A magistrate's court has already issued an arrest warrant against Jaysukh Patel in connection with the October 30, 2022 bridge collapse incident. To evade arrest, he filed a request for bail on January 16. His anticipatory bail plea will come up for hearing on February 1.
A 1,262-page charge-sheet names him as the main accused and an "absconder" as per ndtv.com. "All steps are being taken to arrest him as soon as possible. He is untraceable right now," said senior police officer Ashok Yadav.
Although primarily known for making wall clocks and electronic appliances under the Ajanta brand, Oreva group surprisingly managed to get the contract for the renovation, operation, and maintenance of the century-old suspension bridge over the Machchhu River.
The bridge collapsed on October 30, just four days after it reopened. The Gujarat government formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), which brought various charges against the Oreva group such as poor maintenance and unrestricted sale of tickets without regard to the bridge’s capacity.
The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in its report stated that important particulars such as rusty cables, broken anchor pins, and loose bolts were grossly overlooked while the bridge was under renovation. The report also mentions that Oreva group did not bring in any experts to evaluate the load-bearing capacity of the bridge.