Maharashtra minister's kin told to demolish illegal bungalow in Navi Mumbai
Observing that law was equal for all, including ministers and their relatives, the Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra Excise Minister Ganesh Naik's nephew to demolish his bungalow built illegally on a 301 square meter CIDCO plot in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
A division bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and SC Gupte was hearing a public interest litigation filed by RTI activist Sandeep Thakur, alleging that the minister, his son Sandeep Naik and his nephew Santosh Tandel had usurped land measuring over 1.45 lakh square meters at Belapur.
Tandel has constructed a bungalow called 'Glass House' on the land which has been declared as a 'No-Development Zone' by CIDCO due to sea water flowing into the plot, the PIL alleges.
The High Court after perusing all the documents today observed that the structure constructed by Tandel was "illegal and built without obtaining permissions".
"The brazen manner in which the violation has taken place shows the complicity of the planning authority (Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation). T
he civic body has failed in discharging its duties. The law is the same for everyone. So what if the person involved is a minister and his relative," Justice Chandrachud said.
The court has directed Tandel to remove the structure within two weeks failing which the municipal corporation shall take necessary steps to demolish it.
When Tandel's advocate sought six weeks time to remove the structure, Justice Chandrachud said, "We will give six months to a slum dweller to shift but not to you. You have violated the law."
The court also questioned if Tandel was the owner of the structure or it was owned by Ganesh Naik. "If the structure does not belong to the minister then why did he go there on 72 occasions between October and December 2011 ?" Justice Chandrachud asked after perusing a RTI reply showing police 'bandobast' provided at the building for Naik.