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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Ghatkopar hoarding collapse Accuseds finances under the scanner

Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Accused’s finances under the scanner

Updated on: 18 May,2024 07:04 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shirish Vaktania |

Seeking Bhavesh Bhinde’s custody, police say he manages more than 4 expensive hoardings along Eastern Express Highway, all of which violate rules

Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Accused’s finances under the scanner

Bhavesh Bhinde, head of Ego Media Pvt Ltd and owner of deadly Ghatkopar hoarding

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Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Accused’s finances under the scanner

The police on Friday revealed that Bhavesh Bhinde, the director of Ego Media Pvt Ltd—the ad agency responsible for the hoarding that claimed 16 lives and left 79 injured, was also behind four other gigantic billboards along the Eastern Express Highway. Each of these is said to cost around Rs 4 crore. 

The authorities are looking into how Bhinde, who was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch from Rajasthan on Thursday, had managed to pay such large sums.

Bhinde, who has been named in multiple cases, had absconded after the hoarding fell on a petrol pump on Monday evening. He was produced in the esplanade court on Friday by the Crime Branch and was remanded in police custody until May 26.

Bhavesh Bhinde, head of Ego Media Pvt LtdBhavesh Bhinde, head of Ego Media Pvt Ltd

Crime Branch officials told the court that after learning about the disaster, Bhinde had driven to his farmhouse in Lonavala, but later realised the police were on his trail. He then switched off his mobile phone and went to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Later, he booked a private car and reached Jodhpur, Rajasthan. While checking into a hotel there, he used a relative’s Aadhaar card.

A Crime Branch officer told the court, “Each hoarding costs more than Rs 4 crore, and Bhinde is responsible for four hoardings installed along the Eastern Express Highway in Ghatkopar. All the hoardings exceed the permitted dimensions and violate many rules. We are looking into whether Bhinde obtained the permissions necessary for erecting them. Bhinde was also receiving significant financial support, and the source of this funding is under investigation.”

The Crime Branch will also review his bank records and all transactions. The financier will also be called in for investigation.

The authorities will also check to find out who had given the structural stability certificate and permission to install the billboards.

Defence Speak

The defence lawyer told the court that Janhvi Mhatre was the director of Ego Media until her resignation on November 23, 2022, and Bhinde was appointed as director thereafter. The contract was signed by the former director, not by Bhinde. “Bhinde joined as director in December 2023 and he is not responsible for the incident,” claimed his lawyer, adding that Bhinde’s arrest was illegal.

A Crime Branch officer told the court, “On May 13, the wind speed was 16 kilometres per hour, and it was raining. Suddenly, the wind speed increased to 50-60 kph.”

Rs 4cr
Cost of each hoarding

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