Morbi bridge collapse: Gujarat HC adjourns hearing on interim bail plea of Oreva Group MD Jaysukh Patel

The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday adjourned hearing on the interim bail application of Oreva Group Managing Director Jaysukh Patel, the main accused in the collapse of a bridge in Morbi last year which claimed 135 lives.

The court of Justice Divyesh A Joshi declined to urgently hear the plea by Patel’s lawyer Nirupam Nanavati seeking interim bail for his client pending his regular bail application, and posted it on October 27, the day when his regular bail plea will come up for hearing.

The British-era suspension bridge on the Machchhu river in Morbi town of Gujarat collapsed on October 30 last year, killing 135 people and injuring 56 others.

Rajkot-headquartered Oreva Group was responsible for the maintenance and operation of the bridge.

In its report on the tragedy, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by the state government had highlighted “serious operational and technical lapses” on part of the Oreva Group.

On October 10, the report was submitted before the high court, which is hearing a suo motu PIL on the tragedy.

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The bridge collapse was a “result of lapses at administrative level to follow due procedure as per government norms, and also due to technical incompetency to repair the bridge and test it before opening it to the public,” the SIT said in its report.

The lackadaisical approach on part of the management of Oreva company resulting in “one of the most severe and tragic human calamities” cannot be countenanced, it said.

A total of 10 people have been named as accused in the case, including Patel, two managers of his firm and two sub-contractors who had repaired the bridge, three security guards and two ticket booking clerks.

They have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, act endangering human life, rash or negligent act, etc.

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