The police in Gujarat’s Morbi city have named Oreva Group top executive Jaysukh Patel as one of the 10 accused persons in the chargesheet filed in a case related to the bridge collapse that resulted in the death of 141 persons, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
The colonial-era bridge on the city’s Machchu river had collapsed on October 30, just four days after the bridge was reopened for the public following seven months of renovation. Patel is the managing director of Ajanta Manufacturing Private Limited – a company of the Oreva group – which was given the contract to renovate the bridge.
“All steps are being taken to arrest him as soon as possible...He is untraceable right now,” senior police officer Ashok Yadav told the news channel.
The arrest warrant against Patel was issued after a Special Investigation Team formed by the state government to investigate the incident cited several lapses by the Oreva Group in the repair, maintenance and operation of the bridge.
A lookout notice against Patel has also been issued. Meanwhile, Patel has moved a local court seeking anticipatory bail. The court will hear the matter on February 1.
The Gujarat Police had arrested on October 31 nine persons, including two managers of Oreva, two ticket clerks, two contractors and three security guards on allegations of negligence.
On November 15, the Gujarat High Court had asked the state government to explain why the contract for the renovation of the century-old suspension bridge was given to Oreva Group without floating a tender. The High Court is hearing a public interest litigation on the matter.
The Morbi civic body had claimed that the Oreva Group opened the suspension bridge without its approval.