CSMT FOB collapse: Departmental inquiry yet to begin
Five engineers from civic body's Bridges Department mentioned in inquiry report not yet sent show-cause notices
More than three months after the CSMT foot overbridge collapse which killed six and left over 35 people injured, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is dragging its feet on the departmental inquiry. The inquiry report was submitted more than a month ago, but senior civic officials who are overseeing it, said that they haven't even sent show-cause notices to the five engineers from the Bridges Department, who are mentioned in it.
The five mentioned in the preliminary inquiry report included AR Patil who was supervising the structural audit work, Assistant Engineer SF Kakulte who was supervising the repair work, former chief engineer SO Kori, former deputy chief engineer RB Tare and executive engineer AI Engineer. Three of these officials were arrested by the police in the past couple of months.
'Notices being drafted'
Senior civic officials said that the show-cause notices are currently being drafted. "We will send the show-cause notices to the engineers this week and they will be given around 10-15 days to respond. Usually in a departmental inquiry, the accused officials ask for copies of all the relevant documents before submitting their response, and we will have to give them copies," said a civic official. He added that at the time of the hearing, the accused officials could present witnesses to speak in their favour.
Kakulte, Patil and Kori are in judicial custody. Senior civic officials said that the notices will be sent to the engineers' residential addresses and they can decide how to proceed. "They will be given a choice of whether to appoint a legal representative to appear on their behalf, or they can request that the hearing be conducted after they get bail," said the official indicating that the inquiry will be a lengthy process.
Inquiry at a snail's pace
After the bridge collapse, directions from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as well as former civic chief Ajoy Mehta had ensured that the preliminary inquiry report was submitted less than 24 hours after the incident.
The pace, however, dropped after the bulk of the responsibility was placed on DD Desai consultants, who carried out the structural audit of the FOB. Sources in the BMC said that the engineers' protest after Kori's arrest was another reason that the inquiry has been inching along at a slow pace even though the previous inquiry report was submitted in early May.
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