Mumbai: Ghatkopar Hoarding Owner a Rape Accused

Owner of the illegal hoarding in Mumbai tragedy faces charges amidst past legal troubles, as authorities engage in a blame game over negligence.

CORRECTION: Bhavesh Bhinde had contested the Maharashtra legislative assembly election in 2009 and not in 2019. 

  1. Following the tragic incident of a massive hoarding collapse in Mumbai on 13th May, new developments shed light on the responsible party and the circumstances surrounding the disaster.

  2. Bhavesh Bhinde, the 51-year-old owner of Ego Media Private Limited, faces severe charges after a case was filed against him under IPC section 304 for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, among other sections. Bhinde has been on the run since the incident, with his mobile phone switched off, evading authorities.

  3. The illegal hoarding, owned by Ego Media, stood on land under the possession of the Government Railway Police (GRP). However, both the BMC and Railway police engage in a blame game, each accusing the other of negligence regarding the illegal structure. BMC has issued notices to Ego Media Pvt Ltd, demanding the removal of eight other illegal hoardings in the region within 10 days, threatening to revoke licenses for any hoardings in the 24 civic wards.

  4. Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had previously flagged the issue of illegal hoardings, prompting BMC to take action. Despite prior notices and complaints, the tragic incident unfolded, raising questions about authorities' oversight.

  5. The search and rescue operation at the collapse site in Ghatkopar continued for over 30 hours, with 90 percent of trapped victims rescued. However, the toll stands at 14 dead and 75 injured, including a petrol pump staffer, an engineer, and an auto-rickshaw driver.

  6. Bhavesh Bhinde's past is marred with legal troubles, including accusations of rape earlier this year, for which he was arrested and later released on bail. His company, Ego Media Pvt Ltd, has a history of breaching regulations, including cases involving tree poisoning and cutting.

  7. In 2009, Bhavesh Bhinde contested the Maharashtra legislative assembly election from Mulund as an Independent candidate, declaring 23 criminal cases against him, primarily related to illegal banners and hoardings.

  8. Despite facing blacklisting of his previous company, Guju Ads, by BMC, Bhavesh Bhinde established Ego Media Pvt Ltd, continuing to secure contracts for billboards and hoardings, perpetuating a pattern of legal violations.