The police had registered an FIR under sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).
A preliminary report released by the Mumbai civic authority BMC has, meanwhile, held engineers who conducted the structural audit of the bridge responsible for its collapse. The BMC said there is prima facie reason to believe that the audit was conducted in an irresponsible and negligent manner. “This tragedy could have been avoided if the structural audit had been done diligently,” it said.
“It’s apparent that the structural audit report failed to point out the impending failure. In spite of commissioning the report of bridge and spending public money on it, the true condition of bridge was not brought out. The structural report should be made public,” Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation added.
The civic body has suspended two engineers who carried out the audit. A full-fledged departmental inquiry will also be carried out against them.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered the probe on Thursday, saying that the bridge had passed a safety audit conducted six months ago.
The remaining part of the bridge is being demolished as the structure poses a threat to the traffic passing underneath it.
A senior Mumbai Police officer allayed fears of loss of forensic evidence due to the dismantling of the bridge. “A team of FSL had come last night. They collected all the necessary evidence,” the officer told CNN-News18.
He refuted reports that any preliminary findings had been submitted to the Chief Minister.
“We have not yet named anyone in the FIR. It is a broad FIR naming institutes, offices, private individuals. We have not added or deleted anything from it,” he said.
He also denied that only BMC and structural auditors were named in the FIR, and no one from the Central Railways was named.
“When we initially inquired, we were told that the bridge has been constructed by the railways and has been handed over to the BMC for maintenance. But there is no question of absolving anyone at this stage. The probe hasn’t yet begun,” he said.
After the authorities started pulling down the bridge, several doubts were raised about the loss of crucial forensic evidence. Portions of the slab over the bridge had collapsed, taking down with it several people who were walking over it at that time.
“Bringing down this bridge is criminal. It is loss of crucial evidence. We have lost the chance to ascertain the exact reasons of the bridge collapse,” Ravi Mandrekar, a private structural consultant, told CNN-News18.
(With agency inputs)
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