Mumbai Crime Branch forms SIT to probe Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Crime Branch has formed a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident, officials said on Wednesday.

Sixteen people died and 75 were left injured after a massive billboard collapsed due to strong winds earlier in the month.

Bhavesh Bhide, the owner of the company that put up the giant billboard, was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch from Udaipur in Rajasthan last week and brought to Mumbai.

Officials added that police are investigating how Bhide was awarded the hoarding contract and how much he earned.

"Mumbai Crime Branch forms an SIT to probe into the incident. The SIT will now investigate the matter. The SIT comprises 6 officers. The SIT has checked the residence of prime accused Bhavesh Bhinde and seized important documents from there. He has a total of 7 bank accounts in different banks," an official statement said on Wednesday.

"The police are also investigating how Bhinde got the hoarding contract and how much he earned. SIT has also recorded the statements of a few officials in the company of Bhavesh Bhinde," the statement added.

A day after the incident, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya took a jibe at the previous Maharashtra government. "I want to inform you that Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister on November 28, 2019. This property comes under the jurisdiction of the then Maharashtra Government. The land jurisdiction doesn't come under Central Government or Railway Ministry."

Earlier, Mumbai Police registered a case under IPC sections 304, 338, 337, and 34 against owner Bhavesh Bhide and others at Pantnagar police station.

Following the incident, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner stated that Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had ordered all hoardings to be checked.

The billboard in the Ghatkopar area on May 13 came crashing down amid strong winds, leaving 16 dead and several more trapped underneath.


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