Karnataka HC Takes Up Suo Moto Bengaluru Metro Pillar Case That Claimed Two Lives

"I will pay you Rs 1 crore. Can you bring back my daughter and grandson?" the victim's father asked.

Metro pillar collapses in Bengaluru

On Friday, the Karnataka High Court initiated a suo motu (on its own) public interest litigation on the death of a woman and her child due to the collapse of an under-construction Bengaluru Metro pillar pier.

Software engineer Tejaswini, 28, and her son Vihan, 2.5, were killed after a pillar at an under-construction site of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) fell on their motorcycle on Tuesday. Tejasvini ws on her way to work with husband Lohith Solake, and drop her daughter Vismitha and son at a playschool. Solake and Vismitha survived the accident.

Father of the woman, Madan demanded the state government take stern actions against those responsible for the death of his daughter and grandson. “I want the government to prevent such incidents in the future and save lives. The government needs to blacklist the contractor and also need to arrest the officials. If the chief minister doesn’t initiate any stern action, hundreds of public lives will be at risk. High time, he should do it,” he said.

Madan's sharp response came following BMRCL announcing a compensation of Rs 20 lakh and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Rs 10 lakh each will be given to the family of the deceased. "I will pay you Rs 1 crore. Can you bring back my daughter and grandson?" Indian Express quoted the man saying.

Commencing the hearing on the PIL petition, Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagri cited news reports about the accident and expressed concern. The reinforcement cage of an under-construction pier collapsed and fell on a two-wheeler near HBR Layout here on January 10, causing the death of a woman and her child.

The court sought answers from officials concerned about the safety measures undertaken and whether tender documents specified safety measures. It also asked whether the state government has issued orders on the safety measures and fixed the responsibility of contractors and officials involved in the construction. 

The HC included the State, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), and the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) as the respondents in the case. Notices were ordered to be issued to the respondents and the hearing was adjourned.

Tejaswini, a 28-year-old software engineer, and her toddler son died in the incident while her husband and daughter escaped. The BMRCL has sought the help of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to conduct an independent probe into the matter and also suspended its engineers involved in the construction.

An FIR has been registered against  Nagarjuna Construction Company and seven others including a BMRCL deputy chief engineer and an executive engineer.

(With PTI inputs)