The Morbi police has named Jaysukh Patel, the Managing Director of Ajanta Manufacturing Private Limited (AMPL) of OREVA Group, as one of the 10 accused in the collapse of a suspension bridge in the district that led to the death of 135 persons on October 30, 2022. While nine of the 10 accused are in judicial custody, Patel remains free, although an arrest warrant was issued against him on January 13 by a magisterial court.
The 10 accused have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. According to a police official, the accused have been charged under Sections 304, 308, 114, 336 and 337 of the Indian penal Code.
The FIR filed by the police in October 2022, days after the bridge collapse without naming any specific individual or company. The FIR was filed under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of the Indian Penal Code against the “agencies responsible for maintenance and management” of the bridge “along with others whose names may emerge during the course of the investigation”.
Nine people, including AMPL managers Deepak Parekh and Dineshbhai Dave, two ticket-booking clerks, three security guards posted at the bridge and two private contractors who had carried out repair and maintenance of the bridge between March and October last year, were arrested subsequently.
In November, the Morbi police moved the magisterial court seeking to add offences under IPC Sections 336 and 337 (hurt and injury due to negligence) to the FIR. This was allowed by the court.
According to the investigation team, Patel was added as an accused in the chargesheet following the recovery of documents pertaining to the dealings and communications regarding the repair, operations and management of the bridge. According to officials, all such dealings fell under Patel’s purview and his signatures were found on all relevant documents seized from Oreva’s Morbi office.
In January this year, Patel moved the Morbi district and sessions court seeking anticipatory bail. However, the hearing in the plea was adjourned till February 1 after the prosecution sought time to file its response to the application.