AS PART of the investigation into the foot overbridge collapse at CSMT, the Mumbai Police is consulting a manual of the Indian Roads Congress (IRC) for procedures it lists for inspection of bridges.
While the BMC too has its own manual that lists out procedures to be followed while conducting structural audits, Neeraj Desai, director of Professor DD Desai’s Associated Engineering Consultant and Analyst Private Limited — the company that audited the FOB— has told the police that his firm has complied with all procedures listed in the manual of IRC, the police said.
On Thursday, the police produced Desai before the magistrate court, which remanded him to magistrate custody for 14 days. Desai’s lawyer also filed a bail application that will now be heard on April 12.
As per its website, IRC is the apex body of highway engineers in the country, set up in December, 1934, on the recommendations of the Indian Road Development Committee — formed by the Union government — with the objective of developing roads.
An officer said that the manual created by the National Highways Authority of India lists out various measures for the upkeep of bridges. “One of the steps it lists out is conducting an audit of bridges once a year. We are going through it to see what are the other recommendations and if those measures were followed by Desai’s auditing firm,” a senior officer said.
The investigating team has recorded statements of Ravikiran Vaidya, who heads Vadodara-based Geo Dynamics, a firm that had carried out tests on the bridge. Vaidya has told the police that his firm carried out “non-destructive test” on the instructions of Desai.
The statement of a person who had conducted cosmetic repairs on the bridge in 2016 has also been recorded. The police have further recorded the statements of around five BMC officials. “More arrests are likely in the case,” an officer said.
Advocate Shrushti Thakkar, who appeared for Desai in the court, said, “We have filed a bail application considering there is no crime committed on the part of my client, who carried out an audit and mentioned that it required repairs.”