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Mumbai foot overbridge collapse: Cops oppose auditor Neeraj Desai's bail plea


Mumbai, May 14: Mumbai police on Tuesday opposed the bail plea of a director of an audit firm arrested after a foot overbridge collapsed outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), saying he committed a wilful breach of rules and gave a positive report of the bridge despite having "knowledge" of its poor condition.

Neeraj Desai was arrested on March 18 under culpable homicide charges, four days after the FOB collapsed killing seven persons and injuring 33 others. Desai filed a bail plea on Monday claiming repairs carried out under instruction of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's commissioner, which involved laying of heavy granite stones on the bridge, led to its collapse.

CST bridge collapse

He further claimed that his audit firm had carried out inventory work and the structural audit and the observations were made in a report submitted to the corporation in December 2016 two years and three months before the collapse. The police in its reply filed on Tuesday before a sessions court claimed that Desai is a mechanical engineer and has knowledge on the topic of structural engineering.

"The accused has knowledge of how to conduct structural audit of a bridge, importance of such audits and how it effects the lives of persons. However, looking at the manner in which he (Desai) has carried out the present structural audit shows that it was not done with due seriousness," the reply said.

[Mumbai: Foot over bridge collapses; 6 dead, over 30 injured; FIR registered under section 304A]

"The accused took government funds but carried out the audit work in a negligent and careless manner. If the accused had done the work properly then the collapse incident would not have occurred," the police said.

The police further said that Desai and his firm were fully aware of the fact that the said bridge was used by thousands of persons every day and if any untoward incident was to occur then it would result in heavy loss of human life and damage to property.

"Still the company did not carry out technical structural audit of the bridge," the police said.

"Despite being aware that if the bridge collapses, several persons would lose their lives, the firm and the accused person carried out the structural audit and submitted a report saying the condition of the bridge was good negligently and unprofessionally," the police said in its reply. The court has posted the bail plea for hearing on May 20.


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