Investigators probing the May 13 hoarding collapse incident of Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area, have now directed their attention towards a series of ‘money transactions’ that allegedly link between the company that owned the ‘illegal’ hoarding, to a business associate of a senior police officer’s wife, The Indian Express has reported.

Mumbai, India – A scene from the incident site on May 14, a day after the tragedy ( Praful Gangurde / HT Photo )

In December 2022, IPS officer Quaiser Khalid, the then Government Railway Police (GRP) commissioner allowed Ego Media Private Limited to install the structure; he is accused of doing so without receiving mandatory permission from the police chief of Maharashtra.

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Khalid has claimed that he is being made a ‘scapegoat.’ The mishap claimed 17 lives and injured more than 60 people.

The ‘money trail’

According to the Indian Express, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Mumbai Police has found that Ego Media deposited 46.5 lakh in 39 transactions into 10 different bank accounts between 2021 and 2022; all the money is believed to have been taken by an individual person as Arshad Khan.

As per the Registrar of Companies (RoC) records, Khan is a co-director in Mahpara Garments Private Limited, a Mumbai-based company, where Sumanna Quaisar Khalid, the spouse of IPS officer Quaisar Khalid, is a co-director as well.

The records also show that both were appointed on June 28, 2022 in the firm which was incorporated in the same month.

This information has not been independently verified by HT.

Meanwhile, the individuals in whose bank accounts the money was transferred, are not associated with Ego Media, the report says.

“When we asked Bhavesh Shinde, the arrested Ego Media director, and others at the company, we were told that Arshad Khan had asked them to give him cheques without mentioning the names of the recipients,” a source said.

“The SIT then contacted the account-holders and found that they were not economically well-off. They told investigators that Arshad Khan, who stays in Shivaji Nagar, was known to them, and had sought their bank account details to transfer money. The money was eventually withdrawn by Khan himself, they stated. Their statements have been recorded,” the source added.

Additionally, an engineer in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is also under the SIT’s scanner for a allegedly promising Ego Media a ‘favourable report’ on the hoarding from the BMC’s law department.

Thus far, four people, including the former and current directors of the advertising firm, an engineer with a private company that provided a safety certificate for the structure, and the man who oversaw its construction, have been arrested by the SIT.