Gujarat police arrests Vadodara lake tragedy accused from Odisha - Hindustan Times
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Gujarat police arrests Vadodara lake tragedy accused from Odisha

Jan 25, 2024 12:16 PM IST

A case under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the IPC against 19 persons

Ahmedabad:The Gujarat police on Wednesday apprehended Gopal Shah, a partner of the private firm that operated the lakefront near Vadodara, where a boat capsized, claiming the lives of 12 school students and two teachers last week. He was arrested from Titlagarh in Balangir district of Odisha, according to police.

People gather during a rescue and search operation near a lake in Vadodara on Thursday, January 18. (PTI)
People gather during a rescue and search operation near a lake in Vadodara on Thursday, January 18. (PTI)

“Our team has caught Gopal Shah from Odisha today and the process to bring him to Vadodara is underway. Once back, formal charges will be pressed against him. This will mark the eighth arrest in the case,” Yuvrajsinh Jadeja, DCP Crime, Vadodara told HT.

The Vadodara crime branch, supervised by a special investigation team (SIT), is handling the case.

Jadeja added that the police had issued lookout notices for 10 out of the 19 individuals named in the FIR, and Shah was among them.

Shah is a partner in Kotia Projects, the firm responsible for running and maintaining the Motnath Lake in the Harni area on the outskirts of Vadodara.

A dozen students and two teachers of New Sunrise School on a picnic drowned, while 18 students and two teachers were rescued after an overloaded boat capsized in the Motnath Lake on January 18.

Also Read: 6 arrested after 14 die in Gujarat picnic boat capsize

The police registered a case under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code against 19 persons in connection with the boat tragedy.

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 VMC, 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 officers said that on the day of the accident only a few students were provided with life jackets.

The FIR indicated that due to overloading, the boat initially swayed and subsequently capsized, prompted by water flowing in from the front side. Kotia Projects, the primary contractor, had subcontracted boating activities to Dolphin Entertainment.

Currently, seven individuals, including four partners of Kotia Projects, 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 Wednesday, a court in Vadodara granted eight days police custody of Binit Kotia, owner of Kotia Project, to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) after he was produced in court in the case of culpable homicide and negligence.

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