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Mumbai: 18-month-old falls into open gutter, family gives up hope, lodges case against BMC

Divyansh fell into the gutter at 10 pm last Wednesday, just seconds after waking out of his home. Ever since, the BMC has been engaged in a search operation that has involved razing a wall running along the gutter in order to get an unobstructed view inside.

| Mumbai | Published: July 16, 2019 2:25:13 am
Mumbai: 18-month-old falls into open gutter, family gives up hope, lodges case against BMC A crowd gathered near the gutter amid search operations. (File/Express photo: Amit Chakravarty)

Six days after he fell into an open gutter near his home in Goregaon east, the family of 18-month-old Divyansh Singh on Monday said it was unlikely that he was still alive and registered a case against BMC officials for causing death due to negligence.

Surajbhan Singh, Divyansh’s father, went to Dindoshi police station on Monday alleging that the gutter at Ambedkar Chowk on the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road was left open by BMC employees who were de-silting the drains before the rains. Singh also claimed that he and other residents of Bhosle Chawl had made several complaints to the BMC about the open gutter. In his complaint, he has accused sanitation workers of failing to place concrete slabs to cover the opening.

Divyansh fell into the gutter at 10 pm last Wednesday, just seconds after waking out of his home. Ever since, the BMC has been engaged in a search operation that has involved razing a wall running along the gutter in order to get an unobstructed view inside.

The CCTV footage of Ambedkar Chowk in Goregaon east where Divyansh fell into the gutter shows the cover of the drain was removed on July 1. However, the footage doesn’t capture the face of the person whose hand can be seen removing the cover. The BMC had written a letter (July 12) to Dindoshi police station asking them to register an FIR against unknown persons for removing the drain cover.

Read | No trace of 18-month-old toddler after he falls into open gutter

“We scanned the CCTV footage facing the open drain in which the toddler fell. We found that on July 1 around 5.30 pm someone removed the drain cover. But since the CCTV was partly covered by a tarpaulin sheet we are not able to see the person’s face. The footage also shows it was raining and there was water-logging in the area. So, that could be the reason for removing the drain cover to let water pass,” a senior BMC official said.

“We found that a few days after the drain cover was removed, a plywood was placed on it. But later that was also removed by some unknown person. We are investigating who removed the drain cover as well as the plywood,” the official added.

The fire brigade and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were briefly involved in the search operations. The local BMC ward has searched the main drainage line, the creek at Mindspace complex in Malad west and manholes running from east to west.

Singh told the police on Monday that he had lost all hope that his son may still be alive. In his complaint, he accused BMC officials in charge of cleaning and maintaining the gutter of failing to cover it and neglecting the safety of local residents.

Vinay Rathod, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone XII, said a case was filed against unidentified persons. “We registered the complaint on the basis of the allegations made by the family. We are still going through CCTV footage from the area to identify who lifted the cover of the gutter,” he said.

The search operation for Divyansh will also continue, Rathod added.

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