In a twist to the bizarre theft of a bridge in Bihar, the government officer who filed the case was arrested on Sunday.
A Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) of the state Water Resources department was among eight arrested over the theft of a 60-foot abandoned bridge in Rohtas district.
A JCB or excavator, some 247 kg of stolen iron channels and other incriminating material have been retrieved from the arrested people, the police said.
“We have arrested eight persons including an SDO officer of the water resources department in connection with the theft of the bridge. The thieves stole the bridge in connivance with the SDO. We have recovered one JCB, stolen iron channels weighing about 247 kg and other material,” police officer Ashish Bharti told news agency ANI.
A gang of thieves who pretended to be state irrigation department officials had pulled off the extraordinary heist by stealing the bridge, in full public view, from Amiyawar village, about 150 km from state capital Patna.
They arrived with excavators, pick-up vans, gas cutters and cars and, over three days, dismantled the 50-year-old iron bridge bit-by-bit. Then they vanished.
They likely sold it off in parts as scrap metal, the police said.
Villagers had assumed that the government decided to dismantle the old bridge, built over a water canal, as it was not in use.
On the day the “dismantling” began, the sub-divisional officer had allegedly called in sick to avoid being linked to the theft.
Reports say a government engineer was also present when the bridge was being taken apart.