Mumbai

Court rejects bail of CSMT bridge structural auditor

Seeking action: A PIL has sought an investigation by the Commissioner of Police into the Himalaya Bridge collapse and filing of an FIR against erring officers of the BMC.

Seeking action: A PIL has sought an investigation by the Commissioner of Police into the Himalaya Bridge collapse and filing of an FIR against erring officers of the BMC.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

The Esplanade court on Friday rejected the bail plea filed by Neeraj Kumar Desai, whose firm, Prof DD Desai’s Associated Engineering Consultants and Analysts Private Limited had conducted a structural audit of the Himalaya bridge that collapsed on March 14, killing six and injuring 31.

Advocate Rizwan Merchant and advocate Srushti Thakkar on Thursday argued that on October 25, 2016, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner had gone to inspect it personally and he had observed that it was in a very shabby condition. He had then given directions to the assistant commissioner of the A ward to carry out cosmetic repairs to the bridge, and it should be done at the earliest under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Thereafter, the assistant commissioner issued an order and Mr. Desai’s firm was engaged to carry out the structural audits. The advocates said the prosecution did not insert Section 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code initially, but inserted it at a later stage at 11.55 a.m. on March 18.

The prosecution said the reports submitted by Geo Dynamics reveals that negligence on point of the accused is obvious as he had full knowledge of the facts. Accordingly, Section 304 (II) provisions are rightly applied and the bail should be rejected.

Public prosecutor Rajendra Suryawanshi said on August 6, 2018, Mr. Desai’s company submitted a report that said the bridge was in good condition.

The court on Friday said whether Section 304 (II) or Section 304 A (unintentional negligence) is applicable, is not an issue to be adhered to before this court. Only issue to be adhered to is whether bail should be granted or not. Section 304 (II) is a non-bailable offence and is triable by the sessions court and is beyond the jurisdiction of this court. It further said it would be very early to determine at this stage whether Section 304 (II) is applicable or not.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 12:21:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/court-rejects-bail-of-csmt-bridge-structural-auditor/article26751471.ece

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