Mumbai Billboard Deaths: How Rape Accused Bhavesh Bhinde, 23-Times-Rule Offender Got Tender? Did BMC Not Do Proper Checks?

Mumbai was recently rattled by an unexpected severe dust storm and rainfall on Monday. Adding to the horror, a towering illegal billboard, standing at a staggering height of 100 feet, tragically collapsed onto a petrol pump in Ghatkopar. The giant board claimed the lives of at least 14 individuals and causing injuries to 74 others. 

Rampant Corruption

Upon investigation, it has come to the fore that the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) regulations permit hoardings of a maximum size of 40×40 feet, whereas this illicit billboard far exceeded that limit. It is questionable how the BMC could overlook such blatant corruption involving a structure three times the allowable size?

Meet Bhavesh Bhinde – Man Behind Mumbai Board Collapse

Head of Ego Media Private Limited, Bhavesh Bhinde, was the owner of the hoarding that collapsed. The massive hoarding in the Ghatkopar neighborhood of Mumbai was installed by the company. At the Pant Nagar police station, the police have now filed a second FIR against Bhavesh Bhinde and other people for culpable homicide that does not qualify as murder. 

Ongoing Criminal Charges Against Bhavesh Bhinde 

The situation becomes even more concerning when considering the oversized hoarding and the unauthorized construction, but what adds to the gravity of the matter is the recent revelation that Bhavesh Bhinde was accused of rape in January of this year, leading to a case being filed against him at the Mulund Police Station. It’s worth noting the puzzling fact that despite facing 23 criminal cases, including rape allegations, Bhinde has maintained a longstanding association with the BMC.

Rapport Between BMC And Bhavesh Bhinde

According to reports, Bhavesh Bhinde had secured various contracts from the Indian Railways and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to install banners and billboards through the years.  

Bhinde, however, allegedly breached the regulations of the two entities multiple times. Bhinde, along with other associates in his company, has been implicated in cases which involved tree poisoning and tree cutting. Bhinde had earlier managed a company called Guju Ads. This company was subsequently blacklisted by the BMC because of multiple legal issues.

Bhinde kept getting contracts for hoardings and billboards even after being placed on the blacklist. 

Is the eligibility criteria for BMC too lenient?

As per an official BMC document, bidders meeting the qualifying criteria may face disqualification if ‘they have a history of poor performance in litigation’. It would be naive to suggest that the BMC simply overlooked 23 criminal cases against the owner of the large signboard, which tragically claimed 14 lives. Here’s a snippet of the document: 


Insight Into The Working Of BMC 

Discussing the presence of international companies within the BMC, Samajwadi Party MLA and former Corporator Rais Shaikh once remarked, “The BMC lacks a robust document verification system. Engineers and officials face challenges in verifying domestic documents, let alone those of international companies.” Additionally, former Congress corporator Ravi Raja, who previously served as the opposition leader in the BMC, has called for action, citing concerns about collusion between BMC officials and contractors. He said, “BMC officials are also in connivance with contractors”.

This was a terribly avoidable tragedy.