The theft of parts of the pontoon bridge at Geeta Colony was a well-organised conspiracy, police have said.
They are now probing a possible nexus between some scrap dealers and insiders from the public works department (PWD) because stealing an entire bridge is not possible without inside help.
One Praveen Sharma, 66, of Kirari Village in Delhi has been arrested, but police said they were close to nabbing another accused. Police suspect that at least seven people were involved.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the thieves dismantled the bridge and stole it part by part after claiming that it had been auctioned to them by the Uttar Pradesh State Irrigation Department.
The thieves had a no-objection certificate issued by the Delhi PWD and an auction letter from the UP irrigation department.
“During investigation, we learnt that all the documents were forged and that a senior PWD official had given them permission to dismantle the bridge without verifying the documents. Surprisingly, the senior officer did not report the fraud either to the PWD or the police,” said the senior police officer.
The police officer claimed that the response of that PWD official was cold when he was informed that at least 16 of the 46 pure iron capsules of the bridge, weighing around 2.5 tonnes, were dismantled and stolen between January 14 and 17.
Two cranes, an earthmover and more than 20 workers were engaged in the illegal act.
“We asked the PWD official to file a written complaint, but he said there was no need to register an FIR. But when we asked him to give that in writing, he agreed on the registration of FIR,” added the officer.
Further investigation into the matter revealed that a proposal to purchase the pontoon bridge had been sent to the PWD a few months ago by the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).
Inquiry into bridge accident
New Delhi: The Delhi government on Tuesday initiated an enquiry to look into the reasons for the collapse of part of a pedestrian bridge after it was hit by a truck on Outer Ring Road on Sunday night.
“Since this particular bridge has been hit twice by a truck, I have directed the engineers to look into the possibility of increasing the height of this bridge,” said PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, who held a meeting on the issue on Tuesday.