Mumbai: Is this why Sanjay Nirupam wants BMC chief Ajoy Mehta sacked?
Expensive SUV used by Congress leader revealed to be registered in the name of restaurateur whose establishments have been facing the BMC hammer in recent days
Oddly enough, in the aftermath of the Kamala Mills fire, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam's car has driven itself into a controversy. Nirupam, who has demanded suspension of BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, has been riding around in an SUV belonging to the owners of several popular joints in the city, some of which have recently been shut down for violating norms. However, Nirupam maintains that while the owners are his friends, he wouldn't support anything illegal being done by them.
The car of contention is a Pajero that Nirupam has been using. According to information accessed by mid-day, the SUV is registered in the name of China Gate Restaurant Pvt Ltd. The group runs several famous joints in the city, including TAP restobar, Bora Bora, Global Fusion, China Gate, Caravan Serai, Hometown and Red Box. After the Kamala Mills blaze, BMC took action against TAP in Andheri West and one of Bora Bora's outlets for violation of norms.
City Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam. File pic
They're my friends, but...
When mid-day asked Nirupam whether his demand for stringent action against civic chief is outcome of BMC action against his hotelier friends, Nirupam said, "The owner of TAP is my friend. I have several friends in the hotel industry. But that does not mean I endorse or will support any illegal thing. BMC should initiate action against anyone who is violating norms. I welcome its action against irregularities, but that does not mean the BMC chief and his staff can wash their hands off negligence."
Explaining why he's using his friend's car, Nirupam said he'd visited a restaurant belonging to Krishna Tamang, the owner of the China Gate group, on Dussehra, when his car broke down. "I decided to call for a taxi and was about to take one home. Then, Tamang insisted I take his Skoda instead. I used it for couple of days and then returned it. When Tamang got to know my car was still in the garage, he suggested I use his Pajero till I got my car back. I am using the same vehicle and there is nothing wrong with it. One should not read too much into this and link my action against BMC with this incident," Nirupam said.
"I throw open a challenge to the BMC commissioner to show a single case where I have given a letter or made a call to stop any action against close who are violating civic norms, except for defending hawkers. Such baseless stories are floated by those who are rattled by my stance against corruption and negligence in BMC," said Nirupam. mid-day tried contacting Mehta, but he remained unavailable for comment.
He'll return it
Meanwhile, Tamang said, "One of my managers who has been associated with me for more than 25 years was using an old car. On Dussehra, I gifted him a Pajero. Since Nirupam sir's car developed a technical glitch, I gave him the same car for temporary use. He will be returning it to me. "I have many friends in the political and film circles. I see nothing wrong in willingly giving them my car for personal and temporary use."