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Mumbai police launches manhunt for Bhavesh Bhinde, owner of Ghatkopar billboard

The 51-year-old was last seen on Tuesday evening in Lonavala. The 120 by 120-foot advertising hoarding was placed in Ghatkopar East by Bhinde's firm.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 16th 2024 09:09 AM
Mumbai police launches manhunt for Bhavesh Bhinde, owner of Ghatkopar billboard

Mumbai police launches manhunt for Bhavesh Bhinde, owner of Ghatkopar billboard

PTC News Desk: Bhavesh Bhinde, the director of Ego Media Pvt Ltd, the advertising business that owns the billboard that fell in Ghatkopar on May 13, is the target of an investigation by more than ten police teams from Gujarat and Mumbai. The billboard caused 14 fatalities and 74 injuries.

An officer from the Mumbai police's crime division stated that the 51-year-old's last known whereabouts was in Lonavala on Tuesday evening, following which three police teams were sent to the hill area. At present, police units are searching for him in Lonavala, Mumbai, Pune, other airports, and his hometown.


The 120x120-foot advertising hoarding that Bhinde's company had erected in Pant Nagar, Ghatkopar East, fell on May 13 due to a brief period of unusually high winds and rain. Nearly 100 individuals were trapped behind the enormous billboard that collapsed on a busy gas pump; 14 of them lost their lives.

In order to claim the title of greatest commercial hoarding in India, Ego Media even applied to be inducted into the Limca Book of Records. According to a senior official, the Mumbai police intend to inquire with the Government Railway Police (GRP), the owner of the site where the billboard was placed, to find out if the size of the construction was stipulated in the agreement with Ego Media.

Bhinde turned off his phone and left the city as soon as he heard about the first death after the billboard collapse on Monday. According to an officer, he was unable to be reached after briefly turning on the phone in Lonavala on Tuesday night. The police visited his Mulund house and the homes of some of his relatives when his name surfaced in the case, but the officer said he was nowhere to be seen.

Under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), the Pant Nagar police have filed a complaint against Bhinde.

Two further cases of cheating and rape and molestation have been filed against Bhinde in Mulund. In January of this year, a lady working in his office filed a rape and molestation allegation against him. Bhinde was not taken into custody by the Mulund police despite having a chargesheet against him because he was able to obtain anticipatory bail from the Bombay High Court. In 2016, a second case was filed at the same police station.

In addition to these instances, an official at the Mulund police station stated that Bhinde was fined twenty-one times for different infractions of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, prior to 2009. In 2009, Bhinde ran as an independent from the Mulund constituency in the Maharashtra assembly election.

According to the crime branch officer, the Mumbai police have also spoken with a number of billboard contractors to learn more about the nature of their job and to determine the person(s) behind the occurrence. The crime branch believes the investigation should be moved to them because of the large number of deaths, even if the matter is still under the jurisdiction of the local police, the officer continued.

- With inputs from agencies

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