Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who on 2 April visited the site of the flyover collapse in Kolkata, clarified that this was not a political visit. The Congress scion, who also met victims at the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital, said:
"I have come here to meet injured, do not want to give a political statement.It's a tragedy and I believe at such times one must give whatever support they can".
According to latest updates, the death toll in the tragedy has risen to 26. About a 60-metre-long stretch of the 2.2 km flyover under construction in North Kolkata, near Ganesh Talkies (Girish Park) collapsed on a congested road intersection on 31 March. Opposition parties have slammed the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in the state for the delay in construction, which they claim led to the tragedy.
The state government has announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the victims and Rs 2 lakh to the gravely-injured.
Police lens on construction company
The company handling the construction - the Hyderabad-based firm, IVRCL, has said that the unfortunate incident was an accident. A day after an IVRL official dubbed the flyover collapse as an "act of God", the company's legal team head P Sita said, "It is an accident". She did not rule out sabotage and referred to a media report which said there could have been a bomb blast. "An act of God was just an expression only to describe that it is under no one's control," she had said.
The police had earlier detained 10 officials of the construction company at the IVRCL's Kolkata office for questioning. Three top officials of the firm have been arrested, namely Assistant General Manager Mallikaarjun, Assistant Manager Debjyoti Manjumdar and Structure Manager Pradip Kumar Saha. The three have been charged under IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and others.
The three arrested company officials will be produced before a court. Seven other officials of the company are still detained, police said, adding that a team of Kolkata Police has left for Hyderabad to meet the IVRCL top bosses.
Police had registered a case against the construction firm under sections 304, 308 and 407 of the IPC and sealed its local office. The state government also suspended a chief engineer and an executive engineer of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority who were involved in the construction of the flyover pending completion of the probe.
It also ordered an immediate inspection of the remaining portion of the flyover to ascertain its stability and safety, an official release said. Forensic experts visited the site and collected samples of materials used for the construction for examination.
-- With agency inputs