A sessions court here on Saturday adjourned till February 1 the hearing in the anticipatory bail application filed by Ajanta Manufacturing Limited’s managing director in connection with the collapse of the suspension bridge here on October 30 that killed 135 persons.
The court of principal district and sessions judge P C Joshi deferred the hearing of the anticipatory bail plea moved by Jaysukh Patel to February 1 as the public prosecutor was not present.
The ill-fated British-era suspension bridge on the Machchu river, which collapsed on October 30, killing 135 people and injuring hundreds more, was operated and maintained by Ajanta Manufacturing Limited (Oreva Group).
Patel had on January16 moved the anticipatory bail plea in the sessions court here fearing arrest in the case with the police due to file a charge sheet in the case in the next few days. The suspension bridge was maintained and operated by Oreva Group as per an agreement signed with the Morbi municipality.
The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report revealed that rusty cables, broken anchor pins, and loose bolts were among the lapses that were not addressed while renovating the suspension bridge. It revealed that the Oreva Group did not hire any expert agency to assess the load-bearing capacity of the bridge before throwing it open to the public.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the government to investigate the matter had cited, among other things, several lapses on the part of Oreva Group in repairs, maintenance and operation of the bridge.
The lapses included no restriction put 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.
The group had sold 3,165 tickets on October 30 alone and there was no coordination between ticket-booking offices on both sides of the bridge, the prosecution had told the court.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) lodged at B-division police station, at least 250 to 300 people were present on the bridge when it collapsed after one of the cables snapped.
Based on the FIR, the police arrested nine persons, including four from the Oreva Group, so far in the case. They include two managers and two ticket booking clerks of Oreva group that was managing the bridge. The state government issued a show-cause notice to the local municipality asking why it should not be dissolved for failing to discharge its duties that led to the tragedy.