Subscription Subscription
Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Senior police officer implicated in Ghatkopar hoarding collapse probe

Senior police officer implicated in Ghatkopar hoarding collapse probe

Updated on: 30 May,2024 07:05 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

GRP inspector claims he was merely following orders of his superior, the former GRP Commissioner

Senior police officer implicated in Ghatkopar hoarding collapse probe

A BMC worker helps cut down the iron debris following the collapse

Listen to this article
Senior police officer implicated in Ghatkopar hoarding collapse probe

The Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Crime Branch, probing the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse that resulted in the deaths of 17 people and injured 74, has recorded the statement of Government Railway Police (GRP), Police Inspector, Shahaji Nikam, who is also holding the charge of ACP Admin of GRP. Nikam’s statement was recorded over two consecutive days, during which he told the SIT that he was merely following the orders of his superior, the former GRP Commissioner, Quaiser Khalid. 

During its initial probe, the SIT found various irregularities and violations in granting Ego Media Private Limited permission to place hoardings. Officials noted that the first violation was that the land did not belong to the Railways, making it illegal to grant permission without being a licensed authority. Additionally, the contract awarded to the accused, Bhavesh Bhinde’s company was outside the tender process. Furthermore, the former GRP commissioner signed the final papers after receiving a transfer order and before handing over the charges to the next commissioner, which also deviated from proper procedure.

The SIT called Nikam for questioning to understand how the permission was granted and on what basis. According to sources, Nikam stated that whatever application came from Bhinde, the former CP approved it directly without forwarding it to him to complete the procedure as per the government regulations.

Nikam claimed he was just following orders from his superior. Sources in the Crime Branch said that Ego Media bagged the contract for the three hoardings through e-tendering from the GRP on December 7, 2021. The official size of these hoardings was 40 by 40 sq ft, however, on December 7, 2022, it was illegally altered to 80 by 80 sq ft.

Additionally, the tender, initially for 10 years, was extended to 30 years, citing construction costs. “The fourth hoarding, which collapsed, received final approval from the former CP Khalid without any tender process. It was sanctioned based solely on an application submitted by Bhinde on December 19, 2022, Khalid’s last working day. Also, the size of the hoarding was extended to 120 by 140 sq ft,” an officer said.  According to sources, the SIT may ask Khalid to appear before them for further clarification. 

On Wednesday, Bhavesh Bhinde, the director of Ego Media, was produced before the 37th Metropolitan Magistrate Court and was remanded to police custody until May 30.  While seeking his custody, the police stated that they needed one more day for further investigation regarding other illegal hoardings, money transactions, structural audit reports, and identifying who else assisted in funding the hoardings. 

"Exciting news! Mid-day is now on WhatsApp Channels Subscribe today by clicking the link and stay updated with the latest news!" Click here!

Register for FREE
to continue reading !

This is not a paywall.
However, your registration helps us understand your preferences better and enables us to provide insightful and credible journalism for all our readers.

Mid-Day Web Stories

Mid-Day Web Stories

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK