Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar inaugurates illegal restaurant, stokes controversy

Mumbai Mayor and Shiv Sena leader Snehal Ambekar has landed in controversy for inaugurating a restaurant at Dockyard Road that had been served a notice for illegal construction by the BMC

The Mumbai Mayor has landed in controversy for inaugurating an illegal restaurant. According to a point of order raised by MNS corporator Sandip Deshpande in Monday's standing committee meeting, Mayor Snehal Ambekar inaugurated a hookah parlour called Ustaadi at Dockyard Road in south Mumbai on November 6. But the parlour had been served a notice for illegal construction by the BMC more than 2 weeks ago and the civic body is now in the process of prosecuting them under section 351 of the MMC Act

On November 6, the Mayor inaugurated a charcoal lounge called Ustaadi at Dockyard Road. According to a popular restaurant review website, this lounge has hookah available. But it seems the Mayor was unaware of this, and also unaware of the fact that BMC itself had served a notice to the restaurant under section 351 of the MMC Act. This means the restaurant or a part of it is illegal.

Mumbai Mayor and Shiv Sena leader Snehal Ambekar
Mumbai Mayor and Shiv Sena leader Snehal Ambekar

"On one hand, Shiv Sena leader Shubha Raul had taken up a campaign against hookah bars in the city and on the other hand, our very own Mayor is inaugurating one. That too one which is illegal. Where is their morality?" asked Deshpande.

The E ward office confirmed that the restaurant had been served a notice about two weeks ago. "They have now been asked to submit documents, and if we are not satisfied, we will prosecute them," said Kishore Desai, assistant commissioner of E ward. While Desai could not confirm the nature of illegality, Deshpande said the restaurant has illegal floors.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has been left red-faced because of the incident. Defending her party, corporator Trushna Vishwasrao said, "The Mayor attended the function as an invitee. But if there is something illegal, we will never support it. Action must be taken."

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