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Denied flat by builder, man tries to set himself on fire at NMMC office

A 40-year-old man from Navi Mumbai attempted to immolate himself at the municipal commissioner Bhaskar Wankhede’s office yesterday after Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) officials allegedly made him run from pillar to lodge a complaint. He had gone to the office to lodge a complaint against a builder who has allegedly failed to allot him a flat.

Ramesh Pendan
Burning anger: Ramesh Pendan (second from right) attempted to immolate himself at the municipal commissioner’s office before staff intervened

Aggravated by the NMMC officials’ behaviour, Ramesh Pendan doused himself in petrol in a bid to set himself on fire, when Deputy Municipal Commissioner (administration) J N Sinnarkar and his staff members stopped him.

For two years, Pendan has been waiting for possession of a flat in a building in Kopar Khairane that went in for redevelopment four years ago. Builder Mallesh Matla of Ashish Construction Private Ltd undertook the redevelopment project. Pendan alleges that Matla hasn’t been giving him possession of a flat in the building for almost two years now, prompting him to approach the town-planning department of the corporation.

However, the department asked him to contact the anti-encroachment department. Pendan alleged that Subhash Gaikar, deputy municipal commissioner of the anti-encroachment department did not entertain his plea for a year. Instead, Gaikar reportedly asked him to settle the matter with the builder by taking cash in exchange for the flat.

“I have been following the matter of possession of my flat with Gaikar for the last one year. However, he did not take any action against the builder and instead asked me to make a ‘settlement’ with the builder in which I was asked to part ways with my flat in return for some cash. Hence, I was left with no option but to immolate myself in the corporation’s office, which has refused me justice,” said Pendan.

Police from the CBD Belapur station later arrested Ramesh and registered a case against him under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

NMMC’s response
Gaikar refuted the allegation made against him, saying he could not take any action against the builder since the building did not have an Occupancy Certificate (OC). “Whatever he has said is incorrect. Since the building has not been issued an OC, my department cannot take any action against the building and the builder. The action is supposed to be taken by the town-planning department,” said Gaikar.

Meanwhile, J N Sinnarkar, deputy municipal commissioner of administration has assured Pendan that the issue will be resolved by Thursday. “I have talked to the municipal commissioner about Ramesh’s issue and it will be sorted out by Thursday,” said Sinnarkar.  

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