A court here on Wednesday rejected bail applications of eight out of nine persons arrested in connection with the Morbi suspension bridge collapse tragedy.
Principal district and sessions judge P C Joshi said he will pass order on the bail plea of the ninth accused, Devang Parmar, on Thursday. The British-era suspension bridge collapsed on October 30, claiming 135 lives. The bail applications of Deepak Parekh, Dinesh Dave, Prakash Parmar, Mansukhbhai Topia, Madevbhai Solanki, Alpeshbhai Gohil, Dilipbhai Gohil and Mukeshbhai Chauhan were rejected, said public prosecutor Vijay Jani. Devang Parmar is a co-proprietor of Dev Prakash Fabrication.
Those arrested include Deepak Parekh and three others from the Oreva Group that was managing the suspension bridge.
Arguing against their bail pleas, the prosecution had submitted a forensic lab report which noted that the bridge had rusty cables, broken anchor pins and loose bolts, and these and other issues were not dealt with while renovating it. The FSL report also pointed out that the metal flooring laid during the renovation increased its weight.
According to the prosecution, both the repairing contractors engaged by the group, which is mainly into clock manufacturing, were not qualified to carry out such work. Orvea Group had hired Dhrangadhra-based Dev Prakash Solution to renovate the bridge. It collapsed four days after it was thrown open to the public post-renovation. During the hearing, Deepak Parekh’s lawyer produced a purchase order issued to Dev Prakash Solution by Oreva Group which said “renovation will be (done) after dismantling the bridge”. As per the First Information Report, at least 250 to 300 people were present on the bridge when it collapsed after one of the cables snapped. The Oreva Group allegedly did not hire any expert agency to assess the load-bearing capacity of the bridge. The group had sold 3,165 tickets on October 30 alone and there was no coordination between ticket booking offices on the two sides of the bridge, the prosecution told the court. The booking clerks, who have been arrested, should have stopped the sale of tickets, it claimed.
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