The anticipatory bail plea of four developers-cum-partners of Park Xpress was rejected by a Sessions Judge on Saturday. Nine labourers fell to death at an under-construction building of the group last week.
The judge observed that the builders can’t get away by claiming that they had appointed a contractor to carry out the constructions as the decision to go ahead with two additional storeys without PMC permission itself was illegal.
The accused builders, Arvind Jain, Shravan Agarwal, Kailash Wani and Shyamakant Shende, now have the options of surrendering before the Chatushringi Police who are investigating the case or approaching the Bombay High Court to seek relief.
Judge Y P Ladekar did not entertain the bail plea observing that the defence by the accused that they had awarded the contract to a third party does not relieve them of their responsibility. He observed that since the PMC has conveyed it in no uncertain terms that the 13th and 14th floor had no legal sanction, everything that happened during the construction is illegal.
During her argument against the bail plea, District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar had claimed that the labourers had informed the construction contractors about substandard materials being used for the temporary shuttering structure which caved in resulting in the tragic accident. She had also pointed out that the PMC had conveyed to Chatushringi Police in writing that the two additional storeys which were being built didn’t have any sanction from the regulating department.
Pawar had also produced a report submitted by experts from the College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), based on their observations post the accident, which stated that support to the shuttering structure was not provided as per the conventional requirements for construction of a slab at a height of 140 feet or 40 metres.