Ghatkopar Billboard Tragedy: Owner & Main Accused Bhavesh Bhinde Remanded To Police Custody Till May 26

Ghatkopar Billboard Tragedy: Owner & Main Accused Bhavesh Bhinde Remanded To Police Custody Till May 26

Bhinde, 51, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch and the Pant Nagar police on Thursday after a search of almost 72 hours from Mumbai – Lonavala – Ahmedabad and the search ended at Udaipur in Rajasthan from where he was arrested from a local hotel.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Saturday, May 18, 2024, 12:09 AM IST
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Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: Owner Bhavesh Bhinde Arrested By Mumbai Police From Udaipur |

In the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse, the main accused - owner of the hoarding Bhavesh Prabhudas Bhinde – was presented in front of the Mumbai Magistrate Court aka Killa Court located in the Fort area where he was remanded to police custody till May 26.

Bhinde, 51, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch and the Pant Nagar police on Thursday after a search of almost 72 hours from Mumbai – Lonavala – Ahmedabad and the search ended at Udaipur in Rajasthan from where he was arrested from a local hotel.

Several teams of the Mumbai Police conducted this multi-state search operation as a ‘top-secret operation’. Generally, when the Mumbai police conducts searches in another state, they involve the local police for assistance. However, in this matter, all the operations were conducted exclusively by the Mumbai Police alone, given the sensitivity of the matter.

During the search operation, the police team first reached his location and office address – in Mulund but he had escaped by then. The next stop was Lonavala – at a hotel owned by Bhinde, but unfortunately, 2 hours before the cops reached the stop, Bhinde had left from there as well. The next stop was Gujarat as his phone number was traced by the police – where he remained for a couple of hours at Ahmedabad at a relative’s place.

Police sources further revealed that Bhinde knew about them moving towards his location, and hence he resumed his road journey from Ahmedabad towards Udaipur. “The hotel he was living at in Udaipur, he checked in using a different name to avoid getting caught,” said the source. On Thursday night, the police team reached the hotel and apprehended Bhinde.

Meanwhile, police sources further revealed that during Bhinde’s 10-day police custody, he will be interrogated about how he managed to get the license and NOC from the authorities for his billboards/hoardings.

“The names of the authorities or non-authorities from Bhinde will lead to more arrests in the case. Along with them, Bhinde’s Ego Media and other sister companies – who were involved behind the crashed hoardings will be inquired about the same too,” said a police official.

The hoarding which was erected on the land owned by the Government Railway Police will be inquired about the NOC given to Bhinde, said police officials. “GRP gave the NOC in 2022 but the permission was for 40x40 feet while the actual hoarding was about 120x120 feet.

The question is how and why the authorities didn’t notice the illegalities involved for so many years. The ones involved and caused negligence in doing their duty will be summoned, and if necessary arrested,” the official said.

Bhinde’s illegal hoarding at Ghatkopar near Eastern Express Highway killed 16 people with 100 plus people left injured after it collapsed on Monday during the dust storm along with gusty winds followed by the rain. After the matter was reported to the police by the BMC, a case was registered against Bhinde for erecting illegal hoarding, with the Pant Nagar police in Ghatkopar. 

Along with the hoarding matter, Bhinde has been also fined 21 times under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act for illegal hoarding and has a rape case against him at the Mulund police station in January this year. In the rape case, Bhinde approached the Bombay High Court for anticipatory bail which was granted to him. The Mulund police have also filed the chargesheet in the matter. 

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