Auditor of CSMT Bridge In Police Custody Till March 25; His Firm Audited 74 Other Foot Overbridges
Police sought maximum custody of Neeraj Kumar Desai, auditor of the CSMT bridge, in order to investigate other angles in the case.
Rescue worker clear away debris of a collapsed foot overbridge in south Mumbai. (Image: PTI)
Mumbai: Esplanade Court on Tuesday sent Neeraj Kumar Desai, the auditor of the CSMT Bridge which collapsed on March 14, to police custody till March 25. Desai is one of the three directors of Prof D D Desai's Associated Engineering Consultants And Analysts Private Ltd -- the firm which was given the contract to audit the overbridge along with 74 other footover bridges in the city. Desai was arrested on Monday evening from Sakinaka in Andheri west.
According to public prosecutor Advocate Suryanvanshi, Desai was responsible for the structural audit. He submitted an incorrect report which led to the collapse of the bridge on March 14 in which six people were killed and 31 injured.
Police sought maximum custody in order to investigate several other angles in the case. The court was informed that there were several BMC officials present during the audit, and so their investigation was necessary in this case. Police also said that they required to seize the notes made during the audit along with other documents from the auditor.
Suryanvanshi told court that there are many people involved in this case as although the contract was given to Desai’s firm, the actual audit was conducted by a private company, Geo Dynamics, under the supervision of Desai.
The public prosecutor also raised doubt about the audit report of other 74 foot overbridges that were audited by Desai’s firm.
Advocate Lakshmi Murali, representing Desai said, “We have submitted all the documents to the BMC and there is no question of forging any document. Why BMC is suppressing the fact that a structural audit report submitted in December 2016 stated that the bridge required minor repair”
According to the defense lawyer, two audit reports were submitted to the BMC, the first report was submitted in December 2012 whereas the second report was submitted in July 2017. Both these reports suggested minor repairs, but the BMC did not implement the suggestions in the report.
Police initially booked officials of the BMC, and the Central Railway under section 304-A (Causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. However, on March 18, cops informed that section 304-part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC was imposed against Desai.
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