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Contractors acquitted in 2008 case of labourer’s death due to negligence

A magistrate court last week acquitted two contractors in a case wherein a labourer had died and another had sustained grievous injuries after a slab fell over them from the second floor of an under-construction building in Vikhroli.

The FIR had been registered on the report of the injured labourer Puran Roy. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate AA Ghaniwale said in his order that the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove the guilt of the accused and that unfortunately, not a single labourer was examined by the prosecution. He also noted that the forensic report of samples of sand and stone that had been collected from the site had not come till date.

Further, the court said that in the absence of direct evidence against the accused…the said incident is an accident and not a rash or negligent act of the accused.

Offences had been registered against the building contractor Gulam Mustafa for not providing safety equipment to the labourers, Centering Contractor Pradip Choudhari – for not providing proper support to the slab and Engineer Tarik Bansode – for not verifying whether safety equipment was provided. The case against the engineer was separated since he remained absent for long.

Offences had been registered under the IPC for causing death by negligence and causing grievous hurt by endangering life or safety of others – both punishable with up to two years imprisonment.

The developer of the building who had hired the contractor had appeared as a prosecution witness. He had told the court that all safety equipment had been provided and the incident was a pure accident. He also told the court that work was over that day and all labourers had left before the incident occurred. Also a previous contractor with the developer testified that the labourers were not working there, that he had sent them to the site to collect some left-over materials that belonged to him.

Considering their deposition, the court said that the deceased and injured were not working at the site, their presence was not expected there and hence that there is no responsibility of the accused to provide safety equipment to them.

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