The infrastructure firm under the scanner following the collapse of its under-construction flyover in Kolkata Thursday has hinted at the possibility of a "bomb blast" being one of the reasons for the incident. At least 24 people were killed when a 60-metre-long portion of the flyover came crashing down on vehicles and pedestrians on the congested Vivekananda Road in the city's Burrabazaar area.
The legal head of IVRCL infrastructure group said at a press conference Friday the flyover collapse was an "accident," but also that "several possibilities" such as a bomb blast should be investigated, according to NDTV. A Kolkata Police team had reached the Hyderabad office of the firm and was reportedly questioning officials in connection with the Kolkata flyover.
IVRCL saw its stocks falling nearly 11 percent Friday following the bridge collapse. A company official had earlier been criticised for calling the incident an "act of God."
"It was just an expression used to say that it was in no one's control," the IVRCL legal head was quoted as saying by ANI regrading the statement. "We are also shocked that the flyover collapsed, we are also anxious to know why it happened."
The Kolkata Police Thursday registered a case against IVRCL under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 407 of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, political parties started a high-pitched blame-game over the collapse, which came days ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, the first phase of which will begin April 4.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress is looking to stay in power in the state, vowed to take action against those responsible for the bridge collapse, but came under attack from the Communist party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which blamed her government for the loss of lives.
The BJP Friday called for a CBI inquiry into the incident and said it was an "act of fraud protected by the West Bengal government."
IVRCL, which began constructing the flyover in 2009, was reportedly given a budget of Rs. 165 crore and an 18-month deadline, but only 60 percent of the construction has been completed seven years later.
The West Bengal government announced a solatium of Rs. 5 lakh for families of the deceased, Rs. 2 lakh for those who were seriously injured and Rs. 1 lakh for those with minor injuries.
[1 lakh = 100,000 | 1 crore = 10 million | 100 crore = 1 billion]