Vadodara boat capsize case: HC grants bail to four women partners of firm that managed Harni lake

08:51 AM May 09, 2024 | PTI |

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday granted bail to four women partners of Kotia Projects, arrested in connection with the January 18 boat capsize tragedy in Vadodara’s Harni lake in which 12 students and two teachers died.


Justice M R Mengdey granted them bail on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each and with the condition that they will not influence witnesses, and will surrender their passports.

Kotia Projects, a private firm, had been given the contract for the lakefront development project by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The four women partners were among fifteen accused arrested by the police for alleged negligence after the incident.

The victims’ lawyer Mehul Dhonde had opposed the bail pleas stating that the applicants — Tejal Ashish Doshi, Neha Dipen Doshi, Vaishakhi Yash Shah and Nutan Paresh Shah — were directly responsible for the acts of the partnership firm.

Each of them have five per cent share in the profit of the firm and they were implicated on the principle of vicarious (indirect) liability, he argued. The high court said it would not comment on the applicants’ vicarious liability as it will be decided by the trial court.


But there was nothing on record indicating their direct involvement in the offence, nor had they signed any agreements regarding the running of the boating activity on the Lake, noted the judge.

There was also nothing on record to indicate that the women were ever part of any decision-making process regarding the boating activity, he added. Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal, which has taken suo motu cognizance of the boat tragedy, had raised questions over the contract awarded to the private entity under a public private partnership (PPP) model to develop and maintain the lake.

An inquiry had to be conducted into the manner in which the contract was awarded by the municipal corporation, it had said.


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