The company’s first admission of deficiencies in the maintenance and operation of the bridge came within days after police named Oreva Group promoter Jaysukh Patel as a suspect in the criminal case and issued a warrant for his arrest. Investigators claim that Patel has been incommunicado since the night of the bridge collapse.
“Something happened on the part of the municipality of Morbi and something went wrong by the company. In the end, unprecedented damage was done,” counsel Nirupam Nanavati told the court. Ajanta’s commitments were in response to the Supreme Court’s notice to the company of a suo motu PIL.
The court said that based on the available evidence and the fact that the municipality of Morbi has not explained why it allowed Ajanta to continue operating the suspension bridge, “it could be concluded that there was conspiracy between the two”.
The municipality had filed two affidavits, neither of which satisfied the court of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Judge Ashutosh J Shastri. The HC said it appeared the company had dictated the terms to the council by including a clause in the contract that no government agency was allowed to intervene.
“Look at their tenor and your tipping point. You are a powerful body. You said you took precautions as expected from a prudent person? Why were you silent? And now you are telling the government not to initiate proceedings,” said Chief Justice Kumar . said the municipality declined to comment on the dissolution of the state government last week.
The court also noted that the agreement signed by the chief public officer of the municipality and the company has never been submitted to the general body for approval.