Seven engineers from the UP Bridge Corporation (UPBC) and a contractor were held on charges of lapses that caused the collapse of a Varanasi flyover in May. Fifteen people were killed in the incident. Those arrested include chief project manager, Harish Chandra Tiwari, former chief project manager, Genda Lal, project manager, Kuljas Rai Sudan, assistant engineers, Rajendra Singh and Ram Tapasya Singh Yadav, additional engineers, Lal Chandra Singh and Rajesh Pal Singh and contractor Saheb Hussain.
“All eight accused were produced before a local court of Varanasi which sent them to jail,” informed Additional Superintendent of Police, Crime, Gyanendra Nath Prasad, who was supervising the investigation. The investigation of the case was earlier handed over to the crime branch. “During investigation, they took help of experts from Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee (Uttarakhand) to find out technical reasons leading to the incident. It was found there were many shortcomings in construction of the bridge.”
“Several persons were questioned at length over errors and irregularities in the construction. Today, we arrested seven engineers of UPBC and a contractor on the basis of evidences after questioning them,” added Prasad.
Arrested accused face charges under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). The police have also invoked Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act against accused, said a police officer.
Prasad said, the investigation is still on. Soon after the incident, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered an inquiry by a panel-led by agriculture production commissioner R P Singh, into the incident.
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On the basis of inquiry report, the state government had removed Uttar Pradesh Bridge Corporation managing director, Rajan Mittal, after inquiry panel recommended “strict punitive action” against him and other officials.
The panel had found the flyover’s beams constructed in between the columns were not tied with “cross beams”.
Varanasi Police had then claimed to have written five letters to the corporation since November last year asking to manage traffic around the flyover construction site. The mismanagement of traffic was blamed for the deaths.
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