CSMT bridge collapse: 709-page charge sheet only against auditor
Charge sheet mentions that point 52 of Indian Road Congress Manual, that has guidelines on inspection of bridges, was not followed
Almost two months after the CSMT bridge collapsed killing 14 and injuring many others, the Azad Maidan police submitted their charge sheet in the case, in the magistrate's court on Thursday. The charge sheet is against the first accused, Neeraj Desai, director of DD Desai firm, which had audited the bridge. It also mentions that DD Desai had not followed point 52 of the Indian Road Congress Manual that talks about guidelines to be followed for the inspection of bridges.
The charge sheet includes the statement of Geo Dynamics' (the firm hired by DD Desai to carry out several tests) owner, who claims that the base of the Himalaya bridge was not repaired by his firm. It was the base of the bridge that had collapsed on March 14. The auditing work of the bridge was given to DD Desai's (Neeraj's father who owns the firm) Associated Engineering Consultants and Analysts Private Limited in 2016. The firm, in its report, mentioned that the bridge was in good condition.
As per the charge sheet, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked DD Desai to audit the entire bridge, including the base of the bridge. Ravi Kiran Vaidya, owner of Geo Dynamics firm, in his statement told police that a non-destructive test (NDT) of the base of the bridge was not done.
"NDT of the bridge was done on two days when neither Neeraj Desai, nor any representatives of the Desai firm, nor BMC officials were present. We informed all the concerned people about the NDT on time. We were not asked to repair the base of the bridge," says Vaidya's statement.
The 709-page charge sheet was submitted only against the accused auditor, Neeraj Desai, and includes the statement of 83 witnesses. The police have arrested four accused in the matter, including 46-year-old Neeraj, and BMC engineers.
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