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ACB charge-sheets 2 former JKPCC officials in bridge damage case

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Jammu: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday filed a charge-sheet against two former government officials in a 10-year-old case related to the collapse of 17 pillars of a 151-metre-long bridge here, an official said.

The charge-sheet against former deputy general manager Harkewal Singh and manager Dalip Thusu of J&K Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC) was filed in the court of special judge of anti-corruption bureau, Jammu, a spokesperson of the ACB said.

A case was registered on the basis of a verification conducted by the Vigilance Organisation (now ACB) to enquire into the allegations of collapse of 17 pillars of Devak 151-metre-long bridge at Utter Behani due to faulty design and poor earthwork.

The verification revealed that the bridge was damaged due to heavy rains on the intervening night of August 11 and 12, 2011 only after five years of its completion, the spokesman said.

He said the verification also revealed that the bridge was constructed by M/S A K Construction at the approved rate of the JKPCC.

“The Roads and Buildings Department had authorised the JKPCC to start the work without prior vetting/proof check from design directorate. No administrative approval and pre requisite technical sanction was obtained before starting the work,” the spokesman said.

The spot inspection and scrutiny of records revealed that in the construction of bridge, the basic and obligatory requirement of investigation like bridge foundation investigation hydrology, sub soil exploration, bearing strength of soil and discharge of river were completely ignored prior to design and execution of work which led to construction of unstable bridge structure, he said.

“The investigation conducted has revealed that a criminal conspiracy was hatched between the accused officials. In pursuance to that the project and construction of bridge was undertaken without prior vetting of the design from Design Directorate, Jammu,” the spokesman said.

He said the technical aspects were ignored prior to execution of same which led to failure of the bridge.

“The exercise of construction of such bridge was found futile. It failed to serve the purpose thereby rendering the whole expenditure as wasteful causing corresponding loss to the state exchequer,” the spokesman said.

He said the next date of hearing has been fixed on April 09.

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