Two toddlers were booked for putting up an illegal hoarding after Assistant Municipal Commissioner Nandlal Samtani from Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation filed a complaint. It was later discovered that it was put up by a member of RPI (A), who listed the names of his son and niece — both two years old — on the banner.

The illegal hoarding installed by Gautam More to celebrate his birthday displays the names of his son and niece (circled). Pic/Navneet Barhate
The illegal hoarding installed by Gautam More to celebrate his birthday displays the names of his son and niece. Pic/Navneet Barhate

Speaking to mid-day, Inspector Ghanshyam Palange from Ulhasnagar police station said, "Samtani approached us and asked us to register a complaint after citing the High Court order on illegal banners. We registered a case based on his narration of the names mentioned on the hoarding. We had no idea that the accused were two toddlers. Statement will be recorded of the adults whose pictures have been put on the illegal banner, following which a detailed report will be sent to the court."

Despite repeated attempts, Samtani remained unavailable for comment Yuvraj Bhadane, deputy municipal commissioner and PRO for UMC, said, "Action initiated by Samtani was in accordance with the HC order. But he failed to verify the facts. We'll ensure that no action is initiated against the toddlers. In fact, action will be taken against Samtani if found guilty of wrongful conduct."

Family says
It was actually RPI (A) member Gautam More — a resident of Ulhasnagar-1 — who had installed the hoarding. He said, "It was my birthday on May 1, so I installed a poster in the area. I wrote my son and niece's names under the 'courtesy' section. However, we were stunned upon discovering that a case was registered against the two toddlers. It's a shameful act on the part of the authorities."

He added that after finding out the age of the two children, the cops said they would cancel their names from the complaint. "If authorities wake up from their slumber, they'll find at least five illegal banners every 50 metres. They need to take action against these culprits rather than harassing innocent people who celebrate occasions without going overboard," More said.

Sagar Baviskar, father of the toddler, said the entire family was surprised to learn about the police case. "Gautam More is my brother-in-law. Being family, he put my daughter's name on the poster," he added.