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Doctor’s death in Mumbai floods: Residents opened many manholes, say cops

The police on Saturday arrested four residents of Elphinstone Road for allegedly opening the manhole the senior Bombay Hospital doctor fell into

mumbai Updated: Sep 18, 2017 10:11 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,manholes,Deepak Amrapurkar
Dr Amrapurkar’s body was found on August 31 near Worli seashore.

Multiple manholes were opened by residents during the August 29 deluge as they thought it would drain the floodwater faster, but it only put lives at risk, said the Dadar police that investigated the death of Dr Deepak Amrapurkar.

The police on Saturday arrested four residents of Elphinstone Road for allegedly opening the manhole the senior Bombay Hospital doctor fell into, at Elphinstone junction, on August 29. Dr Amrapurkar’s body was found on August 31 near Worli seashore. Locals at Elphinstone told HT that the doctor had fallen into a manhole.

Following the huge outcry over the senior doctor’s death, the police began an investigation into who opened the manhole. The civic body maintained it was not their staff that did it although only they are allowed to open them.

“At least four manholes in the area were opened by the accused,” said a police officer. “After water started entering homes, the four gathered at the flooded road. They thought that the water will drain faster if manholes are opened,” he added.

More people are likely to be involved, police said. “The manholes were opened without informing the civic body,” said the officer. No one is allowed to open the manhole expect civic staff. According to practice, a red flag is supposed to be put up near an uncovered manhole along with a warning sign. Also, a civic staffer is supposed to divert traffic near the spot as most covers are left on the roads.

A bamboo was found inside the manhole and the police are investigating if the accused had used it. “We questioned people who saw the accused opening the manhole. One of the witnesses is a man who tried to save the doctor,” said the officer.

The police traced the accused with the help of witness accounts. The police also checked CCTV footages, but none captured the incident.

The accused were produced before a holiday court on Sunday that remanded them in judicial custody. The police had registered a case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304 (causing death by negligence) and 34 (common intention).

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 10:11 IST