India Considers Possible Murder Charges in Overpass Collapse

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 1:25 PM

Rescuers continued clearing rubble from the scene of Thursday'south accident. Sixty-nine people have been pulled out alive, but authorities said they doubted more survivors would be found.

Indian police said Saturday that they're investigating possible murder charges against ten construction company employees who have been either arrested or detained in connection with the collapse of an unfinished overpass in Kolkata that killed at least twenty-six people.

Rescuers continued clearing rubble from the scene of Thursday'south accident. Sixty-nine people have been pulled out alive, but authorities said they doubted more survivors would be found.

Three arrested employees of IVRCL Infrastructure Co., which was contracted to construct the overpass, were to show up Saturday in court, where arguments for formal charges were to be heard, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to reporters.

Seven other employees have been detained, according to the Press Believe of India news agency.

The employees are being questioned regarding possible charges of murder and culpable homicide, which are punishable by death or life imprisonment, and criminal breach of trust, which carries a prison sentence of up to seven years, police said.

Rescue workers pulled out two more bodies from below the rubble on Saturday, raising the death toll to twenty-six, said police inspector Debashish Chakraborty. The bodies were pinned below concrete slabs and were recovered by emergency workers at the crash site.

Police believe there may be more bodies below the debris.

While most of the injured have been discharged from the hospital, eighteen were still undergoing treatment, Chakraborty said.

IVRCL Infrastructure, based in the southern city of Hyderabad, was contracted in two thousand-seventh to construct the overpass, a project that was expected to get two years. But construction was distant behind schedule.

The overpass had spanned nearly the width of the Str and was designed to ease traffic through Kolkata'south densely crowded Bara Bazaar neighborhood. The structure fell within hours of concrete being poured into a framework of steel girders on Thursday.

"We completed nearly seventy % of the construction work without any mishap," IVRCL official K. P Rao said Thursday. He wasn't among those detained on Friday. "We've to go into the details to discover out whether the collapse was due to any technical or quality issue."

Two W Bengal state engineers overseeing the construction of the overpass were suspended from jobs pending an inquiry into the disaster, a state government statement said.

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Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Manik Banerjee in Kolkata contributed to this report.

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