Bhubaneswar, Sep 11: An engineer of the state works department and director of a private construction firm were arrested today in connection with the collapse of a flyover here that left a man dead and 11 others injured, police said.
The police have also registered a case against three others in connection with the collapse of the under-construction road over-bridge near Bomikhal here yesterday. Deputy Executive Engineer in the Works Department, Bansidhar Praharaj, was the first to be arrested in connection with the incident, Commissioner of Police Y B Khurania said.
Later, one of the directors of Panda Infra Projects, Pratap Panda, was arrested after he surrendered at the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), he said. A case has been registered against Praharaj, Panda, Assistant Engineer Kishore Rout and two other directors of Panda Infra Projects, which was executing the construction work of the bridge, police said. Efforts are on to trace three others, and if necessary, we may issue a look-out circular, Khurania said.
Those named in the case have been booked under different sections of the IPC, including section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), at Laxmisagar police station, he said. The police also booked them under section 337 of IPC (causing hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt) and 34 (when a criminal act is done by several persons), police said. A forensic team visited the accident site as part of the investigation, while a police team also visited the office of the construction company, they said. While Prahjaraj and Rout were suspended soon after the mishap yesterday, Executive Engineer Dukhabandhu Behera was placed under suspension later for prima facie lapses, a senior official said.
"A high-level probe has been launched into the incident by a committee comprising Chief Engineer (Designs) and Chief Engineer (Roads)," Works Department Secretary N K Pradhan told reporters. The committee has been asked to submit its report within a week. A team of engineers also visited the mishap site for inspection, he said.
Stern action would be taken against those found guilty, the police commissioner said, adding, the project was under the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Division-4. A 39-year-old businessman was killed and 11 others were injured after a portion of the under-construction flyover caved in. Opposition parties have blamed the BJD-led Odisha government for the mishap and targeted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also in charge of the Works Department.
Both the Congress and BJP, which demanded resignation of the chief minister over the incident, also stalled the assembly for several hours. BJP leader and MLA Pradip Purohit alleged that former state minister Arun Sahoo had favoured the construction firm which was once blacklisted for security issues and that its case was pending in court. Congress also levelled similar allegations against the ruling BJD on the issue.
A former minister and BJD MLA has stakes in Panda Infra Projects and the same leader is trying to shield the once blacklisted firm, claimed Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Narasingh Mishra. Sahoo, however, refuted the allegation and said he was neither directly nor indirectly associated with the firm (Panda Infra Projects).