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Hoarding crashed before GRP could act against advertising agency for 'harming' trees: Officials

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Mumbai, May 14 (PTI) Officials of the Government Railway Police (GRP) on Tuesday said the billboard installed on its land at Ghatkopar in Mumbai collapsed even before it could take action against the advertising agency over a complaint that it damaged trees to erect it.

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Fourteen persons died and 75 others were injured after the 120 x 120-feet hoarding collapsed on a petrol pump in Chheda Nagar area on Monday evening due to gusty winds and unseasonal rains.

Civic officials have said the billboard was illegal and no permission was taken to install it.

A case has been registered against Bhavesh Bhinde, the owner of M/s Ego Media Private Limited, the advertising agency that installed the hoarding, and others for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code at Pant Nagar police station.

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The GRP said, the BMC had last week issued a letter against the advertising company M/s Ego Media Private Limited for complaint of damaging the roadside trees for installing hoardings.

"After receiving the letter from the BMC, the GRP initiated the proceedings against the advertising company. But before any action could be taken against it, the tragic incident took place," the official said in a statement.

The statement issued by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Admin) of Railway Police said the permission to erect hoardings near the petrol pump on the police land was given to M/s Ego Media Private Limited for a period of 10 years in December 2021 with the approval of the then GRP Commissioner Qaiser Khalid.

The petrol pump of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) was being operated by the Government Railway Police Commissioner's Welfare Fund Organisation with the prior permission of the Director General of Police (GRP) since December 10, 2021, it added. PTI DC NP

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