The official who conducted the structural audit of the ill-fated bridge that collapsed on March 14 has filed a petition in a court saying he carried out the audit as per inventory given to him by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The accused auditor Neeraj Desai stated that the inventory mentioned auditing the metal parts of the bridge, screws and other joints but nothing was mentioned about the concrete slabs or the floor of the bridge.
It was the bridge’s floor that collapsed along with the metal sheets below it on March 14 due to which the people crossing the bridge suffered the consequences of the condition of it.
The concrete slabs fell from a height of 35 feet on the road below. The incident killed six persons and left 35 injured.
The primary investigations conducted by the Mumbai Police’s Azad Maidan police station revealed that there are no notes or records with BMC officials regarding inspections or supervisions while the Mumbai bridge’s audit was being carried out by Desai and his company.
The aforementioned revelation sheds light on BMC’s apathy.
“Even before the reception of the audit certificate, it seems no BMC officials visited or inspected the site to check whether the audit has really been carried out by Desai and his company on the bridge. There are particular norms in government departments where checks are carried out during and after every contract completion by the contractor. Here it seems the BMC officials had no such practice in place. The auditor was free to carry out his audit and submitted the report. There are no checks and balances for supervision of the contract completion,” a senior officer privy to investigations in the case, said.
Even the tender, while awarding the contract for structural audit by the BMC, says thr BMC has to be associated with the contractor during the work but it doesn’t specify what kind of association should be there while the contract work is being carried out.
Despite repeated reminders for notes on the inspection and supervision by the Azad Maidan police, the BMC hasn’t responded till now.
The police are also seeking help from the Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, Uttarakhand to carry out detailed tests and analysis from the samples of collapsed bridge.
A special prosecutor also will be appointed in the case to build a strong case against the accused responsible for the collapse, and the loss of six lives and injuries to caused to several victims.
Meanwhile, the defence lawyer for Desai informed that there could be a fault in the design of the bridge and also that when it was constructed in the 80s, it was meant for lesser number of people which has multiplied in the last three decades, eventually causing the bridge to collapse.