Morbi Bridge Collapse | Bridge cable rusted, not repaired, police tell court; manager calls it will of God


Morbi Deputy Superintendent of Police P A Zala, the officer investigating Sunday’s bridge collapse case in which 135 people died, told a local court Tuesday that the cable of the suspension bridge (Jhoolta Pul) was “rusted” and “had the cable been repaired, this incident would not have happened”.

Deepak Parekh, one of the managers of the Oreva company responsible for maintenance of the bridge and among nine arrested in the wake of the incident, told the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate and Additional Senior Civil Judge M J Khan that “it was the will of God (Bhagwan ni ichcha) that such an unfortunate event happened”.

Morbi bridge (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Seeking 10-day remand of four of the nine arrested, DSP Zala, in oral submissions in the courtroom, said, “Without determining permissible capacity, and without government approval, the bridge was opened on October 26. No lifesaving equipment or lifeguards were deployed… As part of maintenance and repair, only the platform (deck) was changed. No other work was undertaken as per FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) report by a team that came from Gandhinagar.”

“The bridge was on a cable, and no oiling or greasing of the cable was done. From where the cable broke, the cable was rusted. Had the cable been repaired, this incident would not have happened. No documentation of what work and how it was done has been maintained. The material procured/used, if its quality was checked, remains to be probed,” Zala said.

Public prosecutor HS Panchal later told The Indian Express that the investigation so far showed that the contractors were “not qualified engineers” and “fabrication work was done by them”.

Panchal said “the investigation indicates that the bridge might have collapsed because of the aluminium planks on the bridge”.

G K Raval, a lawyer from Surendranagar, appeared for the four men whose remand was being sought – managers Parekh and Dineshbhai Mahasukhrai Dave, contractors Prakashbhai Laljibhai Parmar and Devangbhai Prakashbhai Parmar.

Oreva Group has been involved with the bridge since 2008. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Raval told the court that Parekh had no role with respect to ascertaining the safety of the bridge. At this point, Parekh walked up to the judge and said he handled graphic design and was media manager in the company.

“Everyone worked very hard, from the managing director of the company to the lower level employees, but it was the will of God (Bhagwan ni ichcha) that such an unfortunate event happened,” Parekh said.

Raval submitted that the contractors were only responsible for handling the job works such as welding, electric fitting etc and they did it based on the goods they received.

The prosecution, while attributing the role of the arrested ticket clerks and security guards as being limited to “failing to control the crowd”, did not seek their further remand, submitting that “they were not trained” personnel.

While the prosecution said the two managers of Oreva were in charge of taking care of the contract pertaining to repair and maintenance of the bridge, and were also involved in renovation work, the defence lawyer said the two managers had “no role to play with respect to ascertaining fitness of the bridge”.

Meanwhile, the Morbi Bar Association passed an “unanimous” resolution Tuesday, asking its member advocates not to represent “any of the accused associated with the incident”.





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