Mumbai Hoarding Collapse: Owner Booked in Rape Case...

The owner of the billboard in Ghatkopar area, which collapsed and killed 14 people amid heavy rain and dust storm in mumbai on monday (May 13), is a rape accused and has been penalised at least 21 times in the past for putting up illegal hoardings. Bhavesh Bhinde, director of Ego media Pvt Ltd that owned the massive 120×120 illegal hoarding, was booked under Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the IPC at Mulund police station earlier this year, but was granted anticipatory bail. His legal team said the case against him was false.

According to the police, a case has been registered against 51-year-old Bhinde and others for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other relevant sections of the IPC at pant Nagar police station. The main accused already has 21 non-cognisable complaints against him, which are related to putting up banners without permission. These are all under sections 328 (putting hoarding without permission) and 471 (fines) of the mumbai Municipal Corporation Act. He had declared these complaints as well as two offences related to bouncing of cheques in his poll affidavit when he contested as an independent candidate from Mulund in the 2009 maharashtra assembly elections.

While Bhinde is now on the run, mumbai police commissioner vivek Phansalkar has assured strict action against those responsible for the incident. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it will take down remaining billboards on the GRP land where the hoarding collapsed. The civic body had earlier said it issued a notice to M/s Ego media Private Limited for installing this particular hoarding. A senior official said the assistant municipal commissioner of the N-ward had issued a notice to an advertisement agency to remove these hoardings with immediate effect, but there had been no response so far. Civic officials said the death toll in the incident has risen to 14 while 75 others are injured. Rescue operations at the site have come to an end. chief minister Eknath Shinde, who visited the incident spot late on monday, has ordered a structural audit of all hoardings in the city. He has announced an aid of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each person killed in the incident.

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