HOURS AFTER the Mumbai Fire Brigade gave up its search for 18-month-old Divyansh Singh, who fell into an open gutter in Goregaon East on Wednesday night, police on Saturday persuaded them to continue with the operation and expand the search area.
Nearly 48 hours after he fell into an open gutter outside his residence, search and rescue operations to locate Divyansh were called off around 8 pm on Friday. CCTV footage shows Divyansh, who lived with his parents in a lane off Ambedkar Chowk on Goregaon-Mulund Link Road, falling into the open gutter around 10 pm on Wednesday.
However, after two days, during which it searched the whole gutter and a 10-km portion of the main drainage which it feeds into, the fire brigade decided to call off the operation.
During these two days, it had used a combination of ropes, hook anchors, bamboo sticks and a drone — which couldn’t function due to the strong current of the water — and bright halogen lights after darkness fell to look for Divyansh.
Even as Divyansh’s parents demanded the resignation of the BMC commissioner and a case of causing death due to negligence be filed against local civic officials, the police persuaded the fire brigade to resume its search around 8 am on Saturday.
“We are now going backwards. There is a possibility that back-flow in the gutter could have pushed Divyansh backwards instead of forward. The BMC has also broken walls running along the gutter to carry out search operations,” said Vinay Rathod, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone XII).
With the fire brigade and the BMC opening up manholes running west in Goregaon and Malad for signs of Divyansh, the search operation is also being concentrated on the creek at Mindspace Complex in Malad West, where the main drainage line empties.
Senior police officers said that while statements of Divyansh’s parents and local BMC officials have been recorded, a case would not be registered either until his body was found or the search operation is over for good. “We are going through minute-by-minute CCTV camera footage at Ambedkar Chowk to identify the person who took the cover off the gutter,” said Rathod.