'Landlord, MHADA, IIT-B working to get Esplanade demolished'

Updated: Jun 06, 2019, 07:57 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Ashok Saraogi points to MHADA's conflicting stand, questions IIT-B's integrity and alleges MHADA and IIT-B are favouring the landlord of the building

IIT-B has recommended pulling down the Esplanade Mansion. File pic
IIT-B has recommended pulling down the Esplanade Mansion. File pic

In response to the notice of motion MHADA filed in the Bombay High Court last week seeking permission to demolish Esplanade Mansion, advocate Ashok Saraogi, who is representing the tenants, filed an affidavit on Tuesday. He objected to the recommendations made in IIT-Bombay's report, and alleged that the landlord Sadiq Ali, a certain builder, MHADA officials and IIT-B are working together to get the building demolished.

'Big fraud'

In his affidavit, Saraogi also pointed out how MHADA has taken a conflicting stand in their notice of motion, as they had earlier agreed to carry out the repairs. He questioned the integrity of the IIT-B report and alleged MHADA and IIT-B are favouring Ali. The affidavit stated, "A big fraud has been played upon this Hon'ble Court and as such, requires a detailed inquiry in respect of the nexus of the MHADA officer, the landlord, IIT persons and the said builder and necessary action deserves to be initiated against them (sic)."

Saraogi, who is also one of the tenants, alleged he was told to accept a 'reasonable compensation' and surrender his rights to the premises he was occupying.
"On April 24, I was in a meeting with a senior solicitor and the builder who has struck a deal with Ali. The building has a heritage tag and they knew they couldn't have demolished it. Thus, they have roped in MHADA," he alleged. He further stated that the builder is an influential person, whose name Saraogi hasn't disclosed because he fears for his life. "If the matter is taken up in the Chamber, I am ready and willing to disclose the name of the persons who called the meeting," he said. He also appealed to the court to allow the occupants of the building to carry out the necessary repairs to it and direct MHADA to contribute.

'Will follow HC directions'

D K Jagdale, chief officer of Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board, MHADA, said HC will take the final decision. "We will follow the directions of the HC," he said. IIT-Bombay chose not to respond to queries about the allegations as the matter is sub-judice. Despite several calls, neither the landlord nor his legal representative could be reached for comment.

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