Mumbai: Police Arrests 2 More Accused In Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse

Mumbai: Police Arrests 2 More Accused In Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse

Jahnvi Marathe, the former director of Ego Media Private Limited, the company that owned the hoarding, and her close aide Sagar Kumbhar who allegedly oversaw the construction of the hoarding, were arrested by the SIT from a hotel in Goa, said the police on Saturday.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Saturday, June 08, 2024, 10:10 PM IST
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Mumbai: Police Arrests 2 More Accused In Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse | Vijay Gohil

Mumbai: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) made by the Crime Branch of Mumbai Police has made two new arrests in the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident which killed 17 people on May 13. Jahnvi Marathe, the former director of Ego Media Private Limited, the company that owned the hoarding, and her close aide Sagar Kumbhar who allegedly oversaw the construction of the hoarding, were arrested by the SIT from a hotel in Goa, said the police on Saturday.

Marathe had applied for anticipatory bail at Mumbai’s session court which was rejected on May 31 and since then she has been on the run, the police said. Marathe in her bail plea claimed that she was ‘merely a signing authority’ in the hoarding contract, and blamed the current director – Bhavesh Bhinde for the incident – who is currently in judicial custody – and the first arrest made by the SIT.

Meanwhile, the crime branch informed the court that Marathe had a director and active involvement in the construction of the collapsed structure and that she had signed the final contract representing Ego Media Private Limited. More so, while Marathe claims that she had resigned from Ego Media, police alleged (with substantial evidence) that she was receiving funds from the company to her bank accounts.

In a new report, received by the police, the hoarding that collapsed had a weak foundation. Along with Marathe’s arrest, police arrested Sagar Kumbhar, a civil contractor, who looked at the foundation-related process of the said hoarding. Police sources said Kumbhar approved the installation of the hoarding despite knowing it did not match the protocol of hoardings being installed at a highway – in this case at the Eastern Express Highway.

Ideally, a police source said, a hoarding structure should withstand wind speeds of 158 kilometres per hour, but the one that collapsed could only withstand 49 kilometres per hour – while the speed on the day of the incident went above and beyond 87 kilometres per hour. “If only the protocols were followed, the hoarding would not have collapsed and people would not have been dead. The incident was avoidable,” said a police source.

Like Bhinde’s arrest, on May 16 from Udaipur, the SIT arrested secrecy without involving the local police, they made a similar arrest of Marathe and Kumbhar, police said. They will be brought to Mumbai by Saturday night and will be presented in Mumbai’s court on Sunday. After Bhinde, police arrested Manoj Sanghu, a BMC-approved structural engineer who provided the stability certificate for the hoarding.

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