Mumbai: Are politicians stopping Charkop police from acting on building encroachment?

Nov 29, 2018, 07:24 IST | Diwakar Sharma

Resident alleges no action has been taken against Kandivli society members who have been served a notice for illegal construction on the premises

Mumbai: Are politicians stopping Charkop police from acting on building encroachment?
MP Gopal Shetty (in light blue shirt) speaks to MLA Yogesh Sagar, next to whom is corporator Pratibha Gerkar, on October 25 during the 'dharna' against police action

A businessman and RTI activist Manish Kumar Seth has accused political heavyweights of pressuring the Charkop police against taking action on nearly 100 residents of a posh Kandivli building, who have allegedly carried out illegal extensions/alterations. The residents have been issued a notice under section 53 (1) of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act for unauthorised extensions to their flats' balconies, windows and duct areas etc.

There is a total of 304 occupants — high-profile businessmen, government officers, politicians, share market brokers, among others etc — in the tony Panchsheel Heights in Mahavir Nagar located in Kandivli West. The complainant, a resident in C Wing, told mid-day that the building is over a decade old.

What's the issue?
"I had complained to the junior engineer of R-South ward, Komal Bhoir, regarding the illegalities mid-2015. Based on my complaint, Bhoir kept visiting Panchsheel Heights and issued notices to the flat owners in June, July and August 2015 for violation of FSI norms, asking them to demolish the extensions/alterations within 30 days of receipt of the notice," said Seth, adding that nothing, however, happened. "So, I recently started following up on the case with the deputy commissioner of police (zone XI) and BMC officials. The police assured me that their team would visit the building and carry out a panchnama before initiating legal action against owners."

Panchsheel Heights' residents are high-profile businessmen, government officers, politicians, etc. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abed
Panchsheel Heights' residents are high-profile businessmen, government officers, politicians, etc. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

On October 25, a mobile van of the Charkop police reached Panchsheel Heights, but society members did not allow them to conduct a panchnama. "The police were not allowed to go inside because MP Gopal Shetty, MLA Yogesh Sagar and corporator Pratibha Gerkar deterred them and BMC officials from discharging their duties. These politicians reached the building at 12 pm and stayed till 4 pm. They blocked the police van by placing their chairs in front of the vehicles. And yet, the Charkop police have not booked them under IPC section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) for reasons best known only to them," added Seth.

The other side
Senior inspector Pramod Dhavare confirmed the visit. "Nearly 100 flat owners have been issued a notice under the MRTP Act. We are investigating the matter," he said. The secretary of C/D wings, John Alex Pareira, however, told mid-day that the society members who were served the notice "regularised [the construction] in April 2018". When asked if politicians had obstructed public servants from discharging their duties, Pareira said, "There was a huge dharna in the afternoon, during which the politicians had blocked the main gate." The secretary of A/B wings, Indukumar Amin, did not respond to mid-day's calls.

Also Read: Mumbai cheating case: RTI activist intervenes to get Charkop builder arrested

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