The Bombay High Court Friday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of five people including builders Arvind Premchan Jain (44) of Shivajinagar, Shravan Devkinanda Agarwal (45) of Pashan, Kailas Babulal Wani (48) of Erandwane, Shyamkant Jagannath Wani (52) of Shivajinagar and an architect Pradip Janardan Kosumbkar (41) of Kothrud, in connection with the Balewadi slab collapse incident that caused the deaths of nine workers on July 29.
On July 29, the slab on the 13th floor of Park Xpress building in Balewadi had collapsed. Nine workers working on the spot had died and three were injured. According to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the developers had not taken any sanction to work on the 12th and 13th floors and therefore, the work was illegal.
An offence in this case was registered at the Chaturshringi police station and the police arrested five people including Mrigank Construction Private Limited’s proprietors Bhavin Harshad Shah (34) and Mahesh Sadanand Kamat, project in-charge Santosh Sopan Chavan and Dnyaneshwar Lakshman Chavan (35) and an employee Shrikant Kisan Pawar (44). Police say they have filed chargesheet against the five accused. The five accused as well as a structural engineer Hansal Sudhir Parekh (47) of Aundh, are on the run.
Before the arguments made by lawyers representing all the four builders were over, High Court judge Sadhana Jadhav recused herself from hearing their anticipatory bail applications, stating that “in the interregnum,the applicants have made every effort to influence this court, which cannot be countenanced”.
Rejecting the bail plea of the accused, Justice N W Sambre stated, “This court has to presume the fact that the applicants were having knowledge either direct or implied of the illegal construction being carried out. The statement of three persons, who survived the incident in question speaks volumes about the conduct of the applicant, so did the statement of technical expert from the municipal corporation.”
Meanwhile, the Pune police have failed to arrest the accused who have been on the run since the offence was registered in this case.