The BMC executive engineer, arrested for his alleged role in the collapse of the foot overbridge (FOB) outside CSMT last month, has put the blame on beautification of the bridge in 2017. Seven persons died and over 30 were injured when the FOB collapsed on March 14.
Anil Patil, the 53-year-old executive engineer in BMC’s bridges department, was arrested by Azad Maidan police on April 2. Last week, his bail plea was rejected by the magistrate court, following which he approached the sessions court.
In his bail plea, Patil has said the assistant municipal commissioner of A ward, where the bridge was located, had written to him on November 3, 2016, stating that the municipal commissioner had instructed him to beautify the bridge and the bridges department should give its remarks on the stability of the bridge. “The assistant municipal commissioner, A ward, did not wait for the NOC of the bridges department and started work with utmost haste and hurry on November 9, 2016, for reason best known to him. The work was completed on or about March 31, 2017. The work was being duly and regularly supervised by the assistant municipal commissioner,” Patil’s bail plea states. It adds that the bills of contractors who repaired the bridge were signed by the assistant municipal commissioner.
A civic official has told the police that while the bridges department’s remarks were sought, no response was received. “The applicant (Patil) states that since the repairs or the so-called beautification work was carried out by the assistant municipal commissioner, A ward, it was their responsibility to see if the work was done properly or not,” Patil has said in his plea.
He further claimed he is “not at all well-versed” with the techniques of finding out structural stability and taking inventory of bridges and, hence, the municipal administration had engaged an audit firm, the director of which, Neeraj Desai, is also currently in custody.
Patil claimed at the most his action amounts to dereliction of duty and not the sections levied against him, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Patil claimed the last repair work done on the bridge was by a firm named Veerag Enterprises under instructions of the assistant municipal commissioner, A ward. “Therefore, the entire onus of this case falls on A ward and that the applicant has wrongly been arrested,” Patil claimed. Patil, Desai and BMC assistant engineer S F Kalkute have so far been arrested in the case.