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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mins after Ghatkopar hoarding collapse BMC levied Rs 65 crore penalty

Mins after Ghatkopar hoarding collapse, BMC levied Rs 6.5 crore penalty

Updated on: 13 June,2024 07:40 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

SIT questions engineer of N Ward, licensee officer, and clerks, but no satisfactory answers yet

Mins after Ghatkopar hoarding collapse, BMC levied Rs 6.5 crore penalty

The site, on Wednesday, of the May 13 Ghatkopar hoarding collapse that killed 17 people. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

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Mins after Ghatkopar hoarding collapse, BMC levied Rs 6.5 crore penalty

Minutes after the hoarding collapse at Ghatkopar, which killed 17 people and injured many, the BMC, initially silent for several years, assuming the land belonged to the Railways, took action. They issued a notice to Ego Media Private Limited, the accused company, demanding a penalty of R6.5 crore for the illegal hoarding placed in their jurisdiction. The SIT has questioned the engineer of the N Ward, the licensee officer, and a few clerks but has not received satisfactory answers so far.

According to the SIT, several statements regarding the hoarding collapse have been recorded, including those from GRP officials as well as engineers and clerks from the BMC. The SIT found connivance between the GRP and some BMC officials of the N Ward, who ignored the illegal hoarding despite knowing it was unlawful and that the land belonged to the state government.

BMC and fire brigade clearing the debris. File Pic/Atul Kamble
BMC and fire brigade clearing the debris. File Pic/Atul Kamble

Officials stated that the illegal hoarding permission was given by former GRP Commissioner Quaiser Khalid, who lacked jurisdiction. The BMC officials initially issued a notice to the GRP stating that BMC permission was required but withdrew it when the GRP claimed the land belonged to the Railways and that the BMC had no jurisdiction.

During the initial probe, both GRP and BMC blamed each other. However, as the investigation progressed, it became clear that the BMC remained passive despite knowing about the illegal hoarding in their jurisdiction and that the GRP was aware the land belonged to the state but still allowed Ego Media a contract to place the hoarding. “We have recorded the statements of BMC officials in this regard, and a few more statements will be recorded soon to ascertain everyone’s accountability,” an officer said.

The SIT also found that the BMC sought legal opinion from their team to determine if BMC permission was required to place hoardings on railway land. However, they did not inform the legal advisor that the land itself belonged to the state government and that the licensing authority was the BMC. The sources have said that they are now questioning the BMC officials about the penalty notice issued by the BMC minutes after the hoarding collapsed.

“It is surprising that the officials, who previously didn’t act against Ego Media claiming that the GRP said the hoarding was in their jurisdiction, are now sending a penalty notice of Rs 6.5 crore after the collapse. The officials are not providing satisfactory answers on this,” an officer added.

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