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Morbi Bridge Collapse: Hearing on Oreva Group MD’s Pre-arrest Bail Plea Adjourned Till Feb 1


Last Updated: January 21, 2023, 15:59 IST

Ahmedabad (Ahmedabad) [Ahmedabad], India

The suspension bridge was maintained and operated by Oreva Group as per an agreement signed with the Morbi municipality (Image: News18 File)

Ajanta Manufacturing Limited (Oreva Group) was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ill-fated British-era suspension bridge on the Machchu river that collapsed on October 30

A sessions court in Gujarat’s Morbi on Saturday adjourned till February 1 the hearing in the anticipatory bail application filed by Ajanta Manufacturing Limited’s managing director in connection with the collapse of a suspension bridge here in October last year that killed 135 persons.

The court of principal district and sessions judge P C Joshi deferred the hearing of the anticipatory bail plea moved by Jaysukh Patel to February 1 as the public prosecutor was not present.

Ajanta Manufacturing Limited (Oreva Group) was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ill-fated British-era suspension bridge on the Machchu river that collapsed on October 30, killing 135 persons and injuring more than a hundred others.

Patel had on January 16 moved the anticipatory bail plea in the sessions court here fearing arrest in the case with the police due to file a charge sheet in the case in the next few days.

The suspension bridge was maintained and operated by Oreva Group as per an agreement signed with the Morbi municipality.

The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report revealed that rusty cables, broken anchor pins, and loose bolts were among the lapses that were not addressed while renovating the suspension bridge. It revealed that the Oreva Group did not hire any expert agency to assess the load-bearing capacity of the bridge before throwing it open to the public.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the government to investigate the matter had cited, among other things, several lapses on the part of Oreva Group in repairs, maintenance and operation of the bridge.

The lapses included no restriction put on the number of persons accessing the bridge at a given point in time, no restriction on the sale of tickets, leading to unrestricted movement on the bridge and repair being carried out without consulting competent experts.

The group had sold 3,165 tickets on October 30 alone and there was no coordination between ticket-booking offices on both sides of the bridge, the prosecution had told the court.

As per the FIR lodged at B-division police station, at least 250 to 300 people were present on the bridge when it collapsed after one of the cables snapped.

Based on the FIR, the police arrested nine persons, including four from the Oreva Group, so far in the case. They include two managers and two ticket booking clerks of Oreva group that was managing the bridge.

The state government issued a show-cause notice to the local municipality asking why it should not be dissolved for failing to discharge its duties that led to the tragedy.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)



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