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Campa Cola demolition: Why BMC didn't force entry in compound

Erring on the side of caution, the civic body didn’t react to residents blocking their way yesterday, and is looking to file a watertight case against residents for obstructing legal orders

Demolition process of the Campa Cola got off to a stuttering start yesterday for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), with officials having to return within two hours as residents refused to let them enter their society. However, the BMC, unlike last time, didn’t force their way in. This was a premeditated strategy on their part.

Photos: Campa Cola residents keep BMC away from cutting basic amneties

Residents refused to let officials enter the colony
Residents refused to let officials enter the colony

Officials are planning to file a contempt of court case against residents for obstructing legal orders. As part of their legal strategy, civic officials avoided using physical methods to enter the society, as they want their legal case to be strong. Civic officials filmed the entire process during which residents blocked the gates. Authorities also recorded the verbal communication and arguments being offered by homeowners.

Also read: Campa Cola Society: Demolition squad, police beat retreat

A senior BMC officer said, “This was done to hold residents responsible. We shot a video of them blocking our way. We will present all communications recorded and present them in court as part of our case. We want to make sure we are on the safer side, as our case will be presented on how the residents grossly violated the Supreme Court’s orders even after submitting an undertaking to vacate the residents.”

Civic authorities said residents had refused to vacate their houses even 20 days after the last day stipulated for doing so. The fact that the BMC tried to enter from all the three gates – all were locked – and also left and went back to the society in order to giver residents more time for peaceful evacuation will also be presented in the case papers.

Also read: Campa Cola demolition to be filmed: BMC

The official further added that using forceful methods would’ve also evoked sympathy for residents – like it happened in November. Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas confirmed the development, saying, “We are considering filing a contempt of court case soon. We will enter the society on Saturday as well. We still hope that residents surrender and give us the keys so that the court’s orders are executed peacefully.”

Police case
Apart from this, an FIR has been registered at the Worli police station by the BMC under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty). The police official present at Worli police station said, “We registered the case against the residents.

Also read: 'Cops' pay surprise visit to Campa Cola residents

We will also provide adequate police force for the evacuation on Saturday. We haven’t received any specific orders from the BMC. If need be, the strength of the force would be increased.”

No case against politicians
While residents may be taken to court, the civic body doesn't seem to be in a mood to drag the protesting politicians who also have acted against the apex court’s orders.

Additional Municipal Commissioner SVR Srinivas, said, “We have not decided on taking any legal action against the politicians. We will decide on it whenever we feel is necessary. Currently, we are focussing on implementing the court's order.”

Politicians say

Arvind Sawant, Mumbai South MP
If the government can disobey the Supreme Court in the Shah Bano case, then why can’t it be done here? Residents of this compound will not take law in their hands. They will instead plead to the civic bodies to forgive them.

Mangal Prabhat Lodha, Malabar Hill MLA
According to me, BMC should take away the notices as they (residents) have paid their taxes and stamp duties. The BMC should find out a way and regularise them.

Gopal Shetty, Mumbai North MP
Residents submit keys to their flats if the BMC assures that they will regularise 90 per cent of the flats.

Demolition squad
Five members of BEST, a deputy municipal commissioner and three assistant municipal commissioners, along with a few Mahanagar Gas employees and nearly 20 labourers of G/South ward went to the Campa Cola society. Sources said nearly 250 policemen were deployed.

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