Morbi , November 2: In a major turn in the Morbi bridge collapse case in Gujarat, the Additional Public Prosecutor of the case made a huge revelation, saying that one of the accused managers of the Oreva company cited " Act of God" in the court as a reason for the tragic mishap.
"One of the two managers of Oreva company (that have been arrested) told the court that it is an 'Act of God'," said Additional Public Prosecutor, Advocate HS Panchal. Another major revelation came up to the fore that the cable wires of the bridge were not in the ideal condition to be opened for the general masses and were "rusting away".
"In the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report, the Investigating Officer (IO) said that the cable (of bridge)was rusting away. The Investigating Officer says that only flooring of the bridge was done and the cables were not changed, oiling-greasing also wasn't done," Advocate HS Panchal said. Adding that Prima facie, FSL officer says that it was an old cable.
Asked about details of the accused sent to police custody today, Panchal said, "Out of the 4 people who were sent to Police custody, two are managers at Oreva Co and two others did fabrication work for the bridge. The five others who were sent to judicial custody are security personnel and ticket vendors."
"In the report, the Investigating Officer (IO) stated that the tender process did not take place and contract was directly allotted," Advocate Panchal further said.
Out of nine persons arrested pertaining to the October 30 collapse of the century-old suspension bridge, killing 135 people, Gujarat's Morbi Court on Wednesday has sent four people to police custody and the remaining five into judicial custody till November 5.
Of the four persons in police custody, two are managers of the Oreva company, which threw the bridge open for visitors after seven months of maintenance works, and the other two are fabrication work contractor's people.
Speaking on the ongoing investigation, Rahul Tripathi, SP Morbi, said, "We are questioning all the four accused in our custody and we are trying to establish the liability of the different kinds of lapses in the bridge renovation. We are doing a thorough investigation and if anyone's role comes forward, he or she will be booked and arrested."
He added further, "Yes, We have given a scientific report to the court but details of the same can't be shared with you at this stage as this will hamper our investigation."
The Gujarat Police has filed a First Information Report under IPC sections 304 and 308 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) in the bridge collapse tragedy.
Earlier, the Gujarat government constituted a five-member committee to probe the bridge collapse incident.
"An FIR has been registered against the maintenance and management agencies of the bridge, under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), and 114 (abettor present when offense is committed) of the India Penal Code," said Morbi B Division Police Inspector, Prakashbhai Dekavadiya.
Briefing mediapersons here, Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said, "The death toll in the Morbi hanging bridge collapse incident has gone up to 132. The Chief Minister has constituted a high power committee yesterday itself while leaving Ahmedabad. All officers, posted at different locations, were asked to report at Morbi by 2 am. The investigation is going on."
The Gujarat Home Minister further informed that a criminal case has been registered in connection with the incident.
"An investigation has begun today under the leadership of Range IGP," Sanghavi said. Everyone worked all through the night. The Navy, NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force), Air Force and Army arrived at the spot quickly. More than 200 persons have worked the entire night for search and rescue operations," Sanghavi said.
At least 135 people, including women and children, were killed and over 100 are receiving treatment for their injuries sustained after a cable suspension bridge in Morbi town collapsed on Sunday, plunging people into the Machchhu River.
The search and rescue operation is underway in the Machchhu river.
"According to the information received from the district administration, one or two people are still missing. We are carrying out search operation along with other agencies. 5 teams of NDRF are working here," Prasanna Kumar, NDRF commandant said today.