Mumbai: BMC razes entrance of Three Wise Men; landlord calls it an unwise move

Sumeet Kadam terms demolition contempt of court, threatens legal action; BMC says not legally bound to give notices for razing encroachments off the footpaths

Three Wise Men, a popular watering hole in the western suburb of Santacruz, yesterday faced the wrath of the civic body, as it demolished illegal portions of the pub.

The pub’s management had to pay to clear the debris after the BMC demolished the structure. Pic/Prabhanjan Dhanu
The pub’s management had to pay to clear the debris after the BMC demolished the structure. Pic/Prabhanjan Dhanu

But the landlord has termed the demolition illegal by giving two reasons: 1) the matter is sub judice and the court had stayed the demolition and 2) the BMC never issued a notice before initiating the action.

According to the pub staffers, a team from the H-west ward office reached the establishment around 11 am and started razing the front portion without verifying the facts.

Security guard Amarkumar Chaudhary, who was on-duty at the time of demolition, claimed over a 100 people started destroying the pub’s exterior. "I informed them that there were two people inside the hotel and they could get injured if they continued with the demolition, following which they took a brief halt. However, demolition resumed the moment the two staffers came out,” he added.

Speaking to mid-day, landlord Sumeet Kadam alleged that the action initiated by the BMC was in contempt of the court.

“I own this property since 1970. Though the BMC claims it to be illegal, I have contested its observations in the civil court. Despite the matter being sub juidice, they razed the structure, which is contempt of court. I will fight against this injustice. I am seeking legal recourse to decide the future course of action.”

Official speak
Commenting on the issue, an engineer who was part of the demolition team said, "The demolition drive was conducted at various locations in Santacruz West and Khar. Action was taken against structures encroaching the footpath. Moreover, it isn’t legally binding for us to issue notices in such cases."

All attempts to contact H-west ward officer Sharad Ughade via calls and texts went unanswered.

Owner says
"We have incurred heavy losses due to the demolition. It will take us at least two months to redo the entire place. Adding insult to injury, we had to pay to get the debris cleared. Since the demolition was conducted without serving a notice in advance, we’ll be registering a police complaint in this matter,” said one of the management staffers from Three Wise Men.

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