Bhavesh Bhinde, Owner of Ego Media, On the Run After Mumbai Billboard Disaster

Mumbai, 15th May 2024: Following the tragic incident in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar, where a billboard owned by Bhavesh Bhinde’s company collapsed during a storm, resulting in the loss of 14 lives and injuring over 74 others, a case has been filed against him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Bhindi, the owner of Ego Media, has a history of legal entanglements, with over 20 cases against him, including one related to rape. Currently, he is evading authorities, with his cell phone switched off.

In addition to his legal troubles, Bhinde had previously contested the state election as an Independent candidate from the Mulund constituency in 2009, revealing in his affidavit that he faced 23 cases under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and the Negotiable Instruments Act. Earlier this year, he was implicated in a rape case, leading to the filing of a chargesheet by the Mulund Police Station.

Reports indicate that Bhinde’s company secured contracts from entities like the Indian Railways and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for installing hoardings and banners, often flouting regulations. He and his company are implicated in cases related to tree poisoning and cutting as well.

The collapsed hoarding, a massive 120X120-foot structure, surpassed the permissible size limits set by the BMC, which strictly prohibits billboards exceeding 40X40 feet. The BMC Commissioner, Bhushan Gagrani, confirmed that action will be taken against all illegal hoardings in the city, emphasizing that no permission had been granted for the Ghatkopar hoarding. Furthermore, complaints were received regarding unauthorized tree cutting to enhance visibility, leading to additional legal actions.

While Bhinde’s agency claims to have obtained permission from the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Railways), BMC officials assert that municipal corporation approval is mandatory for billboards in their jurisdiction. BMC Additional Commissioner Sudhakar Shinde highlighted the ongoing dispute over jurisdiction and permissions, which is currently under scrutiny by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has pledged compensation of ₹5 lakh to the families of the deceased and assured coverage for the medical expenses of the injured victims.