Morbi bridge collapse: Oreva group manager calls it 'Act of God', reveals advocate

The cable wires of the bridge were not in the ideal condition to be opened for the general masses and were "rusting away".

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Wednesday, November 02, 2022, 09:43 PM IST
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Morbi bridge collapse: Oreva group manager calls it 'Act of God', reveals advocate |

Morbi: Three days after the devastating Morbi suspension bridge collapsed, clearly because of an overload of tourists on it, a manager of the Oreva company tasked with the maintenance and repairs of the colonial-era structure has called it an "Act of God."

Even as the promoter of Oreva-Ajanta maker firm Jaysukh Patel has gone into hiding, the company’s media manager, Deepak Parekh, told a Morbi court that it was an act of God while his employer "is a nice human being." Parekh is among the nine people arrested in the tragedy.

This revelation was made by Additional Public Prosecutor HS Panchal before the media. He said, "One of the two managers of the Oreva company (who have been arrested) told the court that it was an act of God." 

Neither the company nor the sub-contracted firm was qualified for it

The prosecution also told the court that neither the company nor the sub-contracted repair firm was qualified for this job, but still, Oreva was given the contract, first in 2007 and now in March, 2022, without any tendering process.

"The investigating officer stated that the contract was directly allotted and the entire tender process was given the go-ahead," the Additional Public Prosecutor said. 

And as the prosecution spilled the beans now, though the bridge was thrown open on Sunday, the cable wires of the structure were "rusting away" and not in a condition to open the pedestrian "Jhulta Pul" for the public. 

Advocate Panchal said, "The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report cites the investigating officer as saying that the cables had rusted."

Not only this, but it has also been found that only the flooring work was done; the cables were not changed, and even the elementary oiling and greasing was not done.

Out of the four accused persons, two are Oreva managers

Panchal informed us that out of the four accused persons who have been remanded to police custody until November 5, two are Oreva managers and the others were involved in the bridge’s fabrication work. "Five others sent to judicial custody are security personnel and ticket vendors." 

Morbi SP Rahul Tripathi told reporters that during interrogations with the accused persons, the police were trying to establish the liability of the different kinds of lapses in the bridge renovation. "We are doing a thorough investigation, and if anyone's role comes forward, he or she will be booked and arrested."

Meanwhile, even though the official death toll is 135 so far, there are likely to be some more missing persons. "According to the information received from the district administration, one or two people are still missing. We are carrying out search operations along with other agencies. Five teams of NDRF are working here," Prasanna Kumar, NDRF commandant, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

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