Four directors, including the chairman of Ajay Engineering Infrastructure Private Limited (AEIPL), were arrested on Monday after their anticipatory bail pleas were denied by the Supreme Court, police said.
Their arrest came in connection with a case involving the shoddy construction of a flyover in Ahmedabad, following which the city municipal corporation decided to dismantle the flyover.
Inspector A Y Patel of Khokhra police station while confirming the arrest said, “The directors of AEIPL face an FIR [first information report] filed by the AMC [Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation], accusing them of using substandard materials and poorly constructing the bridge in the Hatkeshwar locality. Their arrest comes after the rejection of their anticipatory bail plea by the Supreme Court a few days ago. We have also sought 10 days of police remand for them.”
The flyover named Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj flyover was constructed by AEIPL in 2017 at a cost of Rs.44 crore in the Hatkeshwar locality of the city.
Those taken into custody include Ramesh Patel, the chairman, along with his sons Chirag and Kalpesh Patel, and one Rasik Patel. All four individuals are directors of the company involved in the ongoing case, said officer Patel.
The action was taken after expert committees appointed by the government to assess the flyover’s condition found that the materials used in its construction did not meet the required standards, raising significant concerns about its structural integrity. As a result, AEIPL and its directors faced legal action based on these findings.
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 (IPC).
In the case of the directors’ anticipatory bail pleas, the Gujarat high court had earlier this month on May 10 rejected their applications, noting that the flyover was commissioned for public use in 2017 but had to be closed within a span of four to five years due to structural damage.
In its order, the court highlighted that before the filing of the FIR, detailed audits of the structure were conducted by independent agencies, which indicated doubts regarding the quality of the concrete used for construction.
Subsequently, the directors approached the Supreme Court, which also rejected their anticipatory bail plea on May 25.
The action against the company came months after the collapse of a suspension bridge in Morbi town of Gujarat on October 30 last year, resulting in the loss of 135 lives.
In the wake of the Morbi bridge collapse, the Gujarat high court instructed the government to inspect all bridges in the state.
The government informed the court that it had issued a government resolution (GR) concerning the inspection and maintenance of major and minor bridges in municipalities and municipal corporation areas.