A court in Gujarat’s Morbi town on Wednesday sent Oreva Group Managing Director Jaysukh Patel, one of the accused in the Morbi bridge collapse case, to judicial custody after the end of his police remand.
Patel, whose company was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the bridge, surrendered before the court on January 31 after it issued an arrest warrant against him. He was later arrested by the police.
On February 1, Patel was remanded to police custody for seven days by Morbi’s Chief Judicial Magistrate M J Khan in the case of collapse of the suspension bridge here in October last year which claimed 135 lives.
Patel was produced before the magistrate on Wednesday after the completion of his police remand.
Since the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government to conduct a probe into the case did not seek further remand, Magistrate Khan sent Patel in judicial custody.
The development comes days after a sessions court here rejected the bail applications of seven other accused persons arrested last year in the bridge collapse case.
In all, the police have so far arrested 10 persons, including Patel, in connection with the incident.
Besides Patel, the others arrested in the case are two managers of the Oreva Group entity, two ticket-booking clerks, three security guards and two sub-contractors who were given the bridge repair work by the Oreva Group.
While the Morbi sessions court had denied bail to seven persons, the two sub-contractors – Prakash Parmar and Devang Prakash Parmar, approached the court for relief on Monday.
The court is likely to decide their fate on Thursday.
All the 10 accused, including Patel, have been charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 336 (act which endangers human life), 337 (causing hurt to any person by doing any rash or negligent act) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by doing rash or negligent act). Ajanta Manufacturing Limited (Oreva Group) was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the British-era suspension bridge on the Machchhu river which collapsed on October 30 last year.
The SIT had found several lapses in repairs, maintenance and operation of the bridge.
The investigation revealed that there was no restriction on the number of persons accessing the bridge at a given point in time, no restriction on the sale of tickets, leading to unrestricted movement on the bridge and repair being carried out without consulting competent experts.