Ahmedabad: The Gujarat police have named Oreva Group top executive Jaysukh Patel as one of the 10 accused persons in the chargesheet filed in the local court in the case relating the Morbi bridge collapse that led to deaths of as many 141 people in October last year.
The decade’s old bridge on the city’s Machchu river had caved in just four days after the bridge was reopened for the public following seven months of renovation. Patel is the managing director of Ajanta Manufacturing Private Limited – a company of the Oreva group – which was given the contract to renovate the bridge.
The charge-sheet, which runs into more than 1,250 pages, was filed in the Morbi sessions court by deputy superintendent of police (DSP) PS Zala, who is the investigating officer of the case.
Of the total accused, nine are already in under judicial custody, while 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.
Fearing the arrest, Patel had filed a bail petition on January 16 and his anticipatory bail is likely to be taken up for the hearing on February 1. “All steps are being taken to arrest him as soon as possible. He is untraceable right now,” said senior police officer Ashok Yadav.
Primarily known for making wall clocks and electronic appliances under the Ajanta brand, Oreva group managed to get the contract for the renovation, operation, and maintenance of the century-old suspension bridge over the Machchhu River. “How the company managed to get the contract is another surprising angle that needs to be investigated,” said another senior officer.
Waking up to the hue and cry, 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.