Mumbai: Civic body makes a U-turn, blames auditing agency for mishap
Blames auditing agency after first claiming that tender for repair work of CSMT bridge had been floated
The first claim made by the civic body after Thursday evening's bridge collapse was that a tender for repairs had been floated and that the proposal was pending with the standing committee.
The story changed in 24 hours though as the BMC blamed the auditing firm Professor D D Desai's Associated Engineering Consultants for failing to document the "true condition of the bridge."
Refuting their initial claims, leader of the house and Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav said that no such proposal had been submitted to the standing committee. "As a rule, if any proposal is pending for more than a month, it is deemed approved. It is, thus, not possible that they submitted a proposal which never came up for a discussion in all these months," said Jadhav, adding that the officials of the Bridges department must be held responsible in the incident.
After an inquiry was conducted on Friday, civic officials from the Bridges department admitted that no such tender had been floated. "Tenders were prepared based on the recommendations made by the consultant responsible for carrying out the structural audit. Since their report said that the bridge was in a good condition, we had no reason to bring out a tender to carry out repairs," said a civic official.
On Friday, leader of opposition Ravi Raja wrote to the Azad Maidan police station requesting officers to file an FIR under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the civic officials responsible for the mishap.
'Civic body must own up'
Other political parties too blamed the civic administration. Samajwadi Party corporator Raees Shaikh said that they were not satisfied with the findings of the inquiry and felt that the civic administration had not owned up to their mistakes. "The core issue of lack of supervision in this situation has not been addressed and some civic officials have been made scapegoats. We will take up the issue in the general body meeting," he said.
Sandeep Deshpande, MNS leader, too said that the incident was a result of "negligence", calling the inquiry report "a sham." He said, "An inquiry must be held against Ajoy Mehta, but he is the one conducting one. It will be of no significance."
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