Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: Ego Media Ex-director’s Bail Plea Junked, Cops Present Her Letters For Nod To Show Active Role

Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: Ego Media Ex-director’s Bail Plea Junked, Cops Present Her Letters For Nod To Show Active Role

The third arrest in the case could be of Ego Media’s former director Janhavi Marathe as the holiday court on Friday rejected her anticipatory bail plea.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, June 01, 2024, 01:20 AM IST
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Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: Ego Media Ex-director’s Bail Plea Junked, Cops Present Her Letters For Nod To Show Active Role | X | ANI

Mumbai: Manoj Sanghu, the BMC-approved engineer who issued the structural certificate to the hoarding that eventually crashed in Ghatkopar, has been remanded to police custody till June 5. After the hoarding firm Ego Media Pvt Ltd’s owner Bhavesh Bhinde, Sanghu is the second arrest in the case. 

The third arrest in the case could be of Ego Media’s former director Janhavi Marathe as the holiday court on Friday rejected her anticipatory bail plea over her alleged active involvement in running the billboard firm.

While seeking anticipatory bail, Marathe tried to wash her hands off the incident, claiming she had resigned from the company in December 2023. As per her plea she cannot be held liable for the tragedy, which she also called “an act of god”. As per her plea, the hoarding was installed on the land owned by the Centre and therefore the permission from the BMC was not required.

Marathe has claimed that Bhinde is the main culprit and the said hoarding was installed under his supervision, and that she was merely the signing authority. She said she has also filed a criminal complaint against Bhinde with the Mulund police station over a personal dispute.

Public prosecutor Iqbal Solkar opposed the plea, saying that Marathe played a direct and active role in the company and all the documents were signed by her. He said that personal differences between the two directors has nothing to do with the present case.

While the police claimed that all the letters addressed to the railway authorities were with her signatures, and as per BMC’s rule the maximum permissible size of the hoarding is 40X40 ft; the 120X140 ft hoarding was way beyond the permissible size for the company’s own financial gains.

The prosecution is relying on Marathe’s letter dated November 9, 2022, to the Commissioner of Police (Railways) for permission without mentioning the size of the proposed hoarding. The subsequent letter dated November 22, 2022, mentioned the rent for the next 10 years and the size.

The police said prior to construction of the alleged hoarding, the company was given permission to erect three hoardings of 40X40 ft on the site. However, vide letter dated December 7, 2021, Marathe proposed 80X80 ft hoardings, claiming this will give huge revenue to the railways. Thus, as per the police, the first violation of the rules began in December 2021 and she was actively involved in it.

Moreover, the prosecution claimed that so far Marathe has received Rs 33.58 lakh from the company. Besides, a Mercedes was bought from the company’s account for her personal use which is still being used by her.

Meanwhile, the police have accessed some more documents from the Government Railway Police (GRP) ACP Shahaji Nikam that suggest that the hoarding did not have official approval and it was approved by the then GRP commissioner Quaiser Khalid without a tender. Khalid had allegedly approved it after receiving his transfer notice from the government, making the process unlawful, the police said.

With Inputs By Aishwarya Iyer

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