The police is required to submit the supplementary charge-sheet by May 29, but it is still awaiting the BMC commissioner's sanction.
Mumbai: The two engineers of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) who were arrested in connection with the Himalaya foot overbridge (FOB) collapse may come out of jail soon if the civic body does not give permission to the police to file the chargesheet.
The police is required to submit the supplementary charge-sheet by May 29, but it is still awaiting the BMC commissioner's sanction. The accused, Sandeep Kalkulte (44) and Anil Patil (53), were arrested in the first week of April over ‘negligence’ during a non-destructive test (NDT) of the Himalaya FOB near CSMT which collapsed on May 14, killing seven people and injuring several.
As per the section 197 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), it is essential to seek permission from the appointment authority before filing a chargesheet against a government official if he/she is involved in a crime related to discharging his/her duty. The police has already filed the chargesheet against the consultant, Neeraj Desai, who had allegedly carried out a false structural audit. However, for the chargesheet against the two civic engineers, the police has written to the BMC commissioner seeking a nod. The first letter was sent on May 6 and a reminder was sent on May 13.
“The commissioner has forwarded the file to the BMC law officer seeking his consultation and it is unlikely that he will allow the chargesheet as section 304 (which deals with culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has been applied. In the past too, during the Babu Genu market incident, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had not given its nod for a chargesheet with section 304,” said Municipal Engineers Union leader Sainath Rajadhyaksha.
Under the leadership of Mr Rajadhyaksha, 42 engineers from the BMC’s bridge’s department had gone on compulsory leave as a protest against the arrest of their colleagues. It was only after a meeting with newly appointed BMC commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, that the engineers resumed work.
Mr Rajadhyaksha added, “The engineers have already spent two months in jail without any fault. If blameless officers are held for criminal acts, then no one in the future will wish to work with the BMC. It was only the consultant who is accused of carrying a wrong audit. Our engineers are not experts.”