Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: How Mumbai Police Tracked Down Bhavesh Bhinde, Owner Of Ego Media

The hoarding collapse Mumbai's Ghatkopar killed 16 people and injured several others during a dust storm.

Bhavesh Bhinde in black along with Mumbai Crime Branch Personnel | Photo: PTI

Bhavesh Bhinde, the 51-year-old man whose company Ego Media had put up the giant hoarding that collapsed in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, has been arrested by the city's police crime branch. The collapse killed 16 people and injured several others during a dust storm on May 13.

Bhinde was arrested in Udaipur, where he was staying in a hotel under a false identity, three days after the catastrophic incident.

A massive manhunt was launched by the Mumbai police, with at least eight teams deployed to track down Bhinde, who had been on the run since the incident. The operation was so discreet that even local police were not informed.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Datta Nalawade, told Hindustan Times that Bhinde had travelled by road to Lonavala, returned towards Thane until Shil Phata near Mumbra, and then proceeded to Ahmedabad and Udaipur. The crime branch trailed him and eventually apprehended him on Thursday evening at the hotel where he had checked in that morning. 

As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a notice was sent to the private agency, Ego Media, that maintains billboards, asking to bring down the hoarding and dismantle the structure due to violations. It pointed out that the BMC allows a maximum hoarding size of 40X40 feet, but the billboard that collapsed was 120X120 feet. 

The BMC’s tree department had also registered a complaint with the police against the owner in December 2023 after the trees planted around the billboard mysteriously perished, as per a report by The Indian Express.

The Pant Nagar police has registered a case against Bhinde under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

He will be produced before the court today (May 17).

Mumbai Hoarding Collapse: Who Is Bhavesh Bhinde?

As per reports, in January this year, a case of rape was registered against Bhavesh at the Mulund Police Station and a chargesheet has also been filed. It has been told that the advertising agency owner had earlier also contested the state election as an Independent candidate from the Mulund constituency in 2009.

In his affidavit, he himself admitted that there were 23 cases registered against him under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and the Negotiable Instruments Act (for bounced cheques).

Reports also suggest that earlier also Bhinde had bagged a number of contracts for erecting hoardings and banners over the years from the Indian Railways and the Mumbai civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) where he has records of violating the rules of both organisations several times.