Morbi Incident | Gujarat Court Refuses To Extend Police Remand Of 2 Oreva Managers, Sends 4 Accused To Judicial Custody
A Court in Gujarat's Morbi district on Saturday refused to extend the police remand of four accused, including 2 managers of the Oreva company in connection with the October 30 Morbi Bridge Collapse incident in which at least 140 people lost their lives.
Earlier, on November 1, four accused were sent to 5-day police custody till November 5. Now, on Saturday, when the prosecution sought further police remand of the accused, the Court denied the same and instead, sent them to judicial custody.
Of the four accused, two are managers of the Oreva company, who were awarded the contract and were in charge of the affairs for the renovation of the bridge, and the other two were given the subcontract for the maintenance of the bridge. They all have been booked under Sections 304,308,336,337 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code.
The Bridge, constructed during British rule had been closed since March for renovation. Oreva company was given a 15-year contract to refurbish it and it was re-opened for the public just four days before it collapsed on October 30.
The counsel for the two managers (accused), Dharmendra Shukla argued before the Court that as opposed to what was claimed by the prosecution, the agreement between the Oreva Group and the Morbi municipality did not provide for any condition with respect to the reopening of the bridge.
It was his primary arguement that the agreemnt did not contain any clause regarding obtaining the fitness certificate. It was also argued that since the prosecution had to only verifify third-party documents such as agreement, minutes of the meeting regarding renovation of the bridge, etc by taking the accused into their custody, and for that very purposes, the police remand was not reqired.
Taking into account the arguements of the defence counsel, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Morbi, M.J. Khan refused to further extend the police custody.