The Gujarat government on Wednesday opposed the regular bail plea of Jaysukh Patel, managing director of Oreva Group, in the case pertaining to last year’s Morbi suspension bridge collapse that killed 135 persons, asserting that he is the main accused.
Oreva Group was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the British-era suspension bridge which snapped on October 30, 2022. The accident also left 56 grievously injured.
Patel had moved a plea for regular bail before the court of principal district and sessions judge PC Joshi, nearly three weeks after the same court had rejected his interim bail plea.
After the conclusion of the hearing from the two sides, the court reserved its verdict for Friday, Public Prosecutor SK Vora said.
During the hearing Wednesday, Vora opposed Patel’s bail plea on the ground of parity with nine other accused whose similar petitions were turned down by the court.
Patel has been shown as the main accused in the chargesheet filed on March 10 by a special investigation team (SIT) probing the case.
“The roles of the accused who worked as security guards and sold tickets to the visitors of the bridge can be said to be of lesser degree compared to that of Patel, who is the main accused. The bail pleas of nine accused were rejected by this court and the high court. Therefore, the court should not grant him bail,” argued Vora.
The matter came up for hearing even as Oreve Group told the Gujarat High Court on March 27 that it has deposited half of the amount for compensation to the victims of the bridge collapse, in compliance with its February 22 order.
The SIT, which investigated the case, had filed a supplementary chargesheet against Patel in the court on March 10. The case was then committed (transferred) to the sessions court for trial against him and nine other accused.
The SIT had on January 27 filed a chargesheet against the nine accused arrested earlier in the case. Patel was then shown as a fugitive. He later surrendered before a court and was arrested by the police on January 31.
Patel and others have been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 336 (act which endangers human life), 337 (causing hurt to any person by doing any rash or negligent act) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by doing rash or negligent act).