Gujarat Police arrest Paresh Shah, key accused in Vadodara boat capsize incident - Hindustan Times
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Gujarat Police arrest Paresh Shah, key accused in Vadodara boat capsize incident

Jan 25, 2024 08:07 PM IST

Parez Shah, a partner in Kotia Projects, the private firm responsible for managing and maintaining Motnath Lake in the Harni area on the outskirts of Vadodara, had been on the run after the incident

The Gujarat Police on Thursday arrested Paresh Shah, a key accused in the January 18 boat capsize incident in Vadodara that resulted in the loss of 14 lives, including 12 children.

Twelve students and two teachers of the New Sunrise School, who were on a picnic, drowned, while 18 students and two teachers were rescued after an ‘overcrowded’ boat capsized in the Motnath Lake in Vadodara on January 18. (File)
Twelve students and two teachers of the New Sunrise School, who were on a picnic, drowned, while 18 students and two teachers were rescued after an ‘overcrowded’ boat capsized in the Motnath Lake in Vadodara on January 18. (File)

Shah, a partner in Kotia Projects, the private firm responsible for managing and maintaining Motnath Lake in the Harni area on the outskirts of Vadodara, had been on the run after the incident. He was apprehended when he went to meet his lawyer in Halol, according to police.

“Paresh Shah and his family members hold about 20% stake in Kotia Projects. He was the person who looked after the management of the lakefront project and is among the key accused in the case. Another key accused in the case Nilesh Jain is absconding, however we will soon arrest him,” Yuvrajsinh Jadeja, DCP Crime, Vadodara told HT.

Jadeja said that Shah was at the lakefront during the incident, and subsequently, he fled the scene to avoid arrest.

Shah, along with other accused individuals, faces charges under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sections 302 (murder) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life).

So far, nine individuals, including six partners of Kotia Projects-- Paresh Shah, Gopal Shah, Bhimsingh Yadav, Vedprakash Yadav, Rashmikant Prajapati, and Bineet Kotia-- along with the firm’s manager Shantilal Solanki, and boat operators Nayan Gohil and Ankit Vasava, have been arrested in connection with the case.

On Thursday, a court in Vadodara extended the remand by another six days for the six accused who were apprehended on January 19 after their initial five-day remand concluded. This group includes individuals implicated, namely Bhimsingh Yadav, Vedprakash Yadav, Rashmikant Prajapati, Shantilal Solanki, Nayan Gohil, and Ankit Vasava.

Two of the accused-- Bhimsingh Yadav and Vedprakash Yadav-- have a history of criminal activity and were previously apprehended in 2015 in connection with a major fraud case, according to police.

Twelve students and two teachers of the New Sunrise School, who were on a picnic, drowned, while 18 students and two teachers were rescued after an ‘overcrowded’ boat capsized in the Motnath Lake on January 18.

As per the FIR, Kotia Projects was given a contract by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to operate the Harni Lake Zone in 2017. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation, in its complaint, highlighted lapses by the contractor, including the neglect of boat maintenance and the insufficient provision of life-saving equipment and jackets. Police officials said that on the day of the incident, only a few students were provided with life jackets.

The FIR indicated that due to overcrowding, the boat initially swayed and subsequently capsized, prompted by water ingress from the front side. Kotia Projects, the primary contractor, had subcontracted boating activities to Dolphin Entertainment which lacked prior experience, according to police.

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