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Mumbai: SIT grills BMC engineer over Ghatkopar hoarding collapse

Updated on: 04 June,2024 07:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Dalvi was attached to N Ward and was in contact with the prime accused, Bhavesh Bhinde

Mumbai: SIT grills BMC engineer over Ghatkopar hoarding collapse

The collapsed hoarding in Ghatkopar, which claimed 17 lives. File pic/Atul Kamble

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Mumbai: SIT grills BMC engineer over Ghatkopar hoarding collapse

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Crime Branch on Monday questioned a BMC engineer in connection with the hoarding collapse at Ghatkopar, which killed 17 people and injured many. The engineer, identified as Sunil Dalvi, was associated with the N Ward and overlooked the illegal hoarding in his jurisdiction. The SIT discovered that he was in frequent contact with the prime accused, Bhavesh Bhinde, owner of EGO Media Private Limited.

According to the SIT, Dalvi was called for questioning after examining BMC documents, which revealed that he was posted at the N Ward of the BMC, under whose jurisdiction the hoarding falls. Despite knowing that the hoarding was placed illegally without BMC’s permission, Dalvi did not take any action.

Additionally, the size of the hoarding was not as per the BMC mandate; it was increased from 40x40 to 120x140, which contributed to its collapse during a heavy storm on May 13, as the pillar could not bear the weight. The SIT also found that Dalvi had issued a notice to the Government Railway Police (GRP), which granted permission to EGO Media, but he later withdrew it after the GRP claimed the BMC had no jurisdiction.

“The fact of the matter is that Dalvi was well aware that the land belonged to the state government and that the BMC was the licensing authority. He did issue the notice to the GRP when he became aware of the illegal hoarding in his jurisdiction, but it appears under someone’s influence, he withdrew it,” an officer privy to the investigation said.

The SIT also found that Dalvi was in frequent touch with Bhinde, with multiple normal and WhatsApp calls recorded over the past year. “We are investigating what led Dalvi to withdraw his notices and why he was in frequent contact with a private party that is now under scrutiny,” an 
officer added.

Officials said that Dalvi had been working with the BMC as an engineer and was transferred one month before the hoarding collapsed. They are also verifying if there was any internal probe conducted by the BMC against him for not acting against the illegal hoarding.

So far, the Crime Branch has arrested two accused in the case, a BMC-approved structural engineer and the owner of EGO Media. Another accused, Jahnavi Marathe, a director of EGO Media, is currently absconding after her interim bail was rejected by the sessions court last week.

13 May
Day the hoarding collapsed in Ghatkopar

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