KOLKATA: Three employees of the Indian construction firm building a flyover that collapsed appeared in court Saturday facing four initial charges including murder, a public prosecutor said, as the death toll rose to 26, reports AFP.
The three appeared at the Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Kolkata after being arrested Friday over the disaster, which saw a 100-metre section of the flyover crash down onto a street below, crushing pedestrians and vehicles.
“All the accused were produced in court today. The charges against the accused are conspiracy, attempt to murder, murder and mischief,” Pijush Kanti Mondal, chief public prosecutor, told AFP.“In the case of murder, (if convicted) they can face life imprisonment or a death sentence,” Mondal said.
The three, who include one senior employee and an engineer, have been remanded in police custody for nine days, the prosecutor added.
Five other staff were detained for questioning Friday over the tragedy, as police sealed off the Kolkata office of IVRCL, the contractor behind the ill-fated construction project in West Bengal state. Although officials have ruled out the chance of finding any more survivors under the rubble, a rescue operation continued Saturday at the site where blocks of concrete and twisted girders lay strewn.
The death toll rose to 26 after rescuers found the body of a truck driver’s assistant lying crushed under the rubble, Kolkata police joint commissioner Debasish Boral said. The West Bengal government has ordered an investigation into the state agency responsible for infrastructure and construction over how the project came to be approved.