Jailbird 'Daddy' in housing row

Even as a final determination of Arun Gawli’s next address is awaited — the options are Kolhapur central jail and Yerawada jail — the underworld don-turned-politician finds himself in a fresh controversy. On August 31, a complaint was dispatched to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) stating that Gawli, originally a resident of Dagdi Chawl, had forged documents to masquerade as a legal resident of Laxmi Building located right opposite Byculla railway station. The don’s family refutes the claims made by other tenants of the building.

Arun Gawli
Look-see: Gawli being produced at a special MCOCA court on August 28 for hearing in the 2007 murder case of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment. File Pic 

Laxmi Building is spread over 5,000 square metres and has more than 580 renters. However, Laxman Rajpure, a lodger in the building claims Gawli never was a tenant, and, in his complaint to MHADA, has stated that the murder convict submitted forged documents.

“According to record available, Gawli had submitted the electricity bill of August 1973 to prove his rights over a flat on Laxmi Building’s third floor. However, we got the particular bill and that was issued in the name of Ashok Bhorade. Currently, the meter is registered in the name of Bhavna Patil. How could Gawli’s tenancy for the flat be proved on the basis of a bill that doesn’t have his name on it?” questioned Rajpure.

‘What’s in a name?’
While Rajpure’s complaint seeks immediate inquiry to uncover the truth, Gawli’s family claims that people with ulterior motives are trying to defame him. Corporator Geeta Gawli, the don’s daughter, said, “My father owned a flat in Laxmi Building. He’s a legal occupant of the apartment. A fight between some tenants and the society management is leading to such news.”

The chairman of the society, Satish Sawant, claims the flat belongs to Gawli. However, when asked by MiD DAY, how the power bill submitted proved Gawli’s tenancy rights when it was not in his name, Sawant said, “What I know is that the flat belongs to Gawli. That’s why his name appears in the legal tenants’ list. The electricity bill may not be in his name, because in the pagdi system a person has to pay money to the landlord for transferring the electricity meter to his name. So, often people avoid this.”

Gawli was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday for his involvement in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamalakar Jamsandekar. He’s currently in Taloja jail, which is meant for undertrials. 

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