Morbi collapse: No safety clause in contract on bridge maintenance | India News


MORBI: The 15-year contract the Oreva Group signed with Morbi municipality for the upkeep of the suspension bridge didn’t have a word about its safety.
More revelations are surfacing in the widely debated absence of a fitness certificate for the bridge whose collapse killed 135 on October 30. It has now emerged that the contract for maintenance, operation and security of the bridge neither had a clause mandating that the company obtain a fitness certificate nor a provision that the municipality should seek one.
In fact, defence lawyer DP Shukla submitted on Saturday that even the Morbi municipality had never taken a fitness certificate when it managed the bridge from 1949 to 2007. Oreva Group took over the bridge’s maintenance in 2007. The details were part of submissions made by the defence in the court of the chief judicial magistrate, which upheld them and rejected on Saturday the prosecution’s plea for further remand of two Oreva managers, Deepak Parekh and Dinesh Dave. The two men, along with seven others, were arrested and booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The debate over a fitness certificate began after the now suspended chief officer of Morbi municipality Sandeepsinh Jhala had said the company hadn’t obtained this document. The prosecution sought five days’ police custody of the managers on grounds that investigators need to find documents, including contracts and minutes of the meeting, from the municipality and the Rajkot district collectorate pre-2007. The investigating officer said he has asked all government offices to provide these documents within 24 hours.
Chief judicial magistrate MJ Khan rejected the application and remanded the accused in judicial custody. The court also turned down the prosecution’s application seeking a stay on the rejection of the remand order.





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