The senior residents of Asha Colony, where the store is located, allege that they have been threatened by the owner for protesting about the encroachment in the compound
Fashion store Kimaya, home to some of India’s biggest design labels, has found itself in the midst of encroachment controversy. On Monday afternoon, a team from the BMC demolished a major portion of the shop on Juhu Tara Road.
Officials from K/West ward claim that the shop was illegally extended in the compound area of Asha Colony. When mid-day visited the spot yesterday around 4 pm, the demolition vehicle was in full action, tearing down the concrete walls and AC ducts of the shop.
On Monday afternoon, BMC officials from the K/West ward tore down the illegal extension of Kimaya store, located on Juhu Tara Road
Assistant Engineer, Sunil Tawde from the BMC, who was leading the demolition team, said they have received several complaints about the illegal structure for the last two years, which then went into litigation.
Recently, the court directed the corporation to initiate the demolition process. “Nearly 440 square feet of the shop was extended illegally on what is known as compulsory open space on the side of the building, which we were ordered to demolish,” he said.
Local MLA, Ameet Satam, who was also present at the site, alleged that he has been approached by a collective body of senior residents of Asha Colony, complaining that the encroachment in their society compound could pose as a safety hazard as it would restrict the entry of a fire brigade in case of any emergency.
“Despite the court order, there was no progress from the civic body’s end, so I decided to get personally involved and make sure that justice prevailed,” said Satam.
Meenaz Bihari, a resident, filed an FIR against the founder and chairman of Kimaya, Pradeep Hirani (mid-day has a copy) on Monday, alleging that she and other senior citizens of the colony have been personally threatened by the accused yesterday.
“My late husband, Kamal, was one of the first people to raise his voice against the irregularities. In retaliation, we were slapped with criminal cases, alleging that I was running a prostitution racket and was threatening the store’s employees.
We had to make so many rounds for court hearings that I was forced to quit my full-time job as a schoolteacher and now offer tuition classes to make a living,” said Bihari. She further alleged that a certain builder lobby was trying to acquire their flat, “We had to finally approach MLA Satam on Friday, who promised swift action.”
Santacruz police have registered a case under Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code. Despite repeated attempts to get in touch with Pradeep Hirani, he remained unreachable for a comment.