Malad social worker files PIL in court against Aarey CEO

Apr 08, 2018, 10:42 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Has alleged that a mafia has been operating in a colony along with illegal tourist bus services and hookah parlour with the CEO's knowledge

The illegal slums that have come up on a patch where the trees have been burnt down in Aarey Colony
The illegal slums that have come up on a patch where the trees have been burnt down in Aarey Colony

Even as green activists are fighting to save the forested patch inside Aarey Milk Colony, a Malad based social worker has submitted a criminal writ petition in the Bombay High Court stating that the Aarey CEO has been turning a blind eye to the alleged rampant illegal activities inside the colony.

On March 17 last year, activist Pradeep Bhalekar registered a PIL with the high court against Aarey Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nathu Rathod, the forest secretary of Maharashtra, secretary of dairy development department, dairy development commissioner and the Maharashtra anti-corruption bureau.

In the petition, Bhalekar has said that the illegal activities, include illegal cutting of trees and torching of forested patches for the construction of slums and hutments by the land mafia, illegal tourist bus services and an illegal hookah parlour. The petition also alleges that Rathod is hand-in-glove with those behind the illegal activities and has hence, not taken any action against them.

A local resident from the colony, who did not wished to be named, said, "The earlier CEO, Gajanan Raut, was an upright officer who was very clear that he would not tolerate any illegal activity. The current CEO is least bothered."

Speaking to mid-day, Rathod said, "The allegations that I have been allowing illegal activities inside Aarey are baseless. About the hookah parlour, our team had visited the spot and submitted a report saying they did not find any hookah parlour, proving that the allegations are totally baseless."

When asked about illegal hutments being constructed by the slum mafia inside Aarey, Rathod said, "We have time and again been taking action against illegal huts. Due to limited manpower, there may be instances where action has been delayed. But, we ensure that no new huts come up."

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