The Gujarat High Court on Thursday granted bail to the three security guards who were deployed on the suspension bridge in Morbi town when it collapsed on October 30 last year claiming more than a hundred lives.
While granting relief to them, Justice Samir Dave took into account their lawyer’s submission that they were merely doing their job and played no role in the decision-making process that led to the tragedy.
As many as 135 persons were killed and 56 grievously injured when the British-era bridge, maintained and operated by Oreva Group, collapsed days after it had been reopened following repairs.
After a short hearing, the HC granted bail to Alpesh Gohil (25), Dilip Gohil (33) and Mukesh Chauhan (26), all residents of Tunki Vaju village in Garbada taluka of Dahod district.
They were among the ten accused arrested by police in the case. It was alleged that besides faulty repairing, failure to manage the footfall on the bridge led to its collapse.
The accused trio’s lawyer Ekant Ahuja said they had actually been hired as labourers by Oreva Group, but were deployed as security guards on the bridge on the fateful day as it was their weekly off.
Public prosecutor Mitesh Amin did not oppose the bail pleas, stating that the “principal liability lies on the owners of Oreva Group and persons who performed the fabrication job (on the bridge)”.
Justice Dave said he was allowing the bail pleas as the applicants were security personnel hired by the company.
Those who are still behind bars include Jaysukh Patel, managing director of the Oreva Group; managers of the firm Dipak Parekh and Dinesh Dave; ticket-booking clerks Mansukh Topiya and Mahadev Solanki, and sub-contractors Prakash Parmar and Devang Parmar who had been hired by Oreva Group for repair works on the bridge.
Morbi police had in January filed a charge sheet in the case.
All ten accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) besides other offences.