Four directors of Ajay Engineering Infrastructure Private Limited (AEIPL) were arrested on Monday days after the Supreme Court rejected their anticipatory bail pleas in a case against them for poor construction of a flyover in Gujarat's Ahmedabad city, police said.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had decided to pull down the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj flyover constructed by the AEIPL in the city's Hatkeshwar locality at a cost of Rs 44 crore and commissioned in 2017.
"The AMC had lodged an FIR against four directors of the firm over poor quality construction of the bridge in Hatkeshwar locality. They were arrested today, days after the Supreme Court rejected their anticipatory bail plea," inspector A Y Patel of Khokhra police station said.
The action was taken against the firm after expert committees observed that materials used for the construction of the flyover were of substandard quality and it was dangerous for commuters as it had structural flaws, he said.
The accused directors of the AEIPL are Rashik Patel, Ramesh Patel, Chirag Patel and Kalpesh Patel. Their firm is engaged in construction of flyovers in different cities of Gujarat, the official said.
"The FIR was lodged on the basis of reports submitted by independent agencies, which tested the structural strength of the bridge. The samples were sent to four different testing labs, and the opinion of the experts of IIT Roorkee was also sought," the official said.
Apart from the chairman and directors of AEIPL, which was given the contract for construction of the bridge, the civic body also named four persons of project management consultant SGS India Private Limited in its FIR, he said.
Several AMC officials were also suspended and a departmental inquiry was initiated against them, the official said.
An FIR in the case was registered in April 2023 for offences punishable under sections 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) and other relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
While rejecting the anticipatory bail pleas of four directors, the Gujarat high Court had noted that the flyover was commissioned for use in 2017, and within a span of four to five years, it needed to be closed to the public due to the damage.
In its order, the court had noted that it appeared that prior to the filing of the FIR, a detailed audit of the structure was conducted by various independent agencies and they had submitted their reports indicating the quality of the concrete used for construction was doubtful.
The directors then moved the Supreme Court, which also rejected their anticipatory bail plea on May 25.
The action against the firm came months after a suspension bridge in Gujarat's Morbi town collapsed on October 30 last year, killing 135 persons.
In the wake of the suspension bridge collapse, the Gujarat high court had directed the government to carry out inspection of all the bridges in the state. The government had told the court that it has issued a GR (government resolution) regarding inspection and maintenance of major and minor bridges in municipalities and municipal corporation areas.