WHILE OPPOSING bail to Neeraj Desai, the director of the firm that audited the foot overbridge outside CSMT which collapsed on March 14, the Mumbai Police has claimed a non-destructive (ND) test was not conducted on parts of the bridge that collapsed.
After a structural audit by Desai’s firm of the bridge in 2016, he had suggested that an ND test be carried out. A firm named Geodynamics was chosen for the test by the BMC after a tender process. The Azad Maidan police claimed that as per the statements of the principal of Geodynamics and of the person who conducted the test in 2017, Desai’s firm did not instruct them to conduct the ND test of the entire bridge.
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The reply to Desai’s bail filed through prosecutor Mangesh Arote states that the statements show that the test was conducted only on parts of the bridge, excluding the deck or the space below the deck without examining the steel and cement on it. The police claimed while Geodynamics had asked Desai’s firm to inform BMC about it, it was not done. The police also claimed no one from Desai’s firm or the BMC were present at the time of the ND test.
Desai, however, has refuted these allegations by claiming that the BMC had “deliberately withheld” documents pertaining to work carried out on the bridge. Advocate Rizwan Merchant, representing Desai, claimed that on October 25, 2016, the municipal commissioner had visited the FOB under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. “In pursuance of the visit, assistant commissioner, A-ward, recorded the condition of the FOB as observed by the municipal commissioner as ‘very shabby’,” the bail plea of Desai claimed.
It further claimed that pursuant to instructions of the municipal commissioner, the assistant commissioner had proposed beautification of the FOB by undertaking ‘cosmetic repairs’. Merchant submitted before court that roughly 14 tonnes of rough granite stone were laid on the deck of the FOB and no stability test was further carried out.