Power-drunk corporator orders raid on store

Sep 15, 2012, 08:57 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar and Chetna Yerunkar

Hours after store workers told Raju Pednekar they would require three days to replace washing machine, he instructed vigilance department to conduct an octroi inspection at Vijay Sales outlet in Goregaon

Hell hath no fury like a BMC corporator kept waiting — for a replacement on his washing machine. The Goregaon outlet of well-known appliance chain Vijay Sales learnt this truth the hard way on Thursday, when an Oshiwara corporator unleashed officials working under him on the store, ordering them to raid it — hours after the store authorities failed to replace a washing machine that he had recently bought from them.

Raju Pednekar of the Shiv Sena
Power play: The outlet that was raided on the orders of Raju Pednekar of the Shiv Sena (insert)

Displaying uncharacteristic alacrity for a BMC corporator, Raju Pednekar, a Shiv Sena corporator in Oshiwara, sped to the store in person late on Thursday evening, to ask for the exchange of his recently acquired but malfunctioning washing machine.

Vijay Sales
Tit for tat: Oshiwara corporator Raju Pednekar was furious when he was told by the staff at Vijay Sales, Goregaon, that he would have to wait for at least three days to receive a replacement for his recently purchased washing machine

He demanded immediate replacement of the machine, only to be told that the store was out of stock, which would take about three days to be replenished.

Pulling strings
While most resigned citizens in the same situation would return home, run some soapwater and prepare to handwash piles of laundry, Pednekar had a better plan up his powerful sleeve.

Such was his desperate urgency not to get his hands dirty that the furious corporator directly phoned the BMC’s vigilance department and ordered it to raid the store and check if it had cleared its octroi payment.

Pednekar happens to be the Law Committee Chairman, and his office includes overseeing Octroi payments, checknakas and the functioning of the law department.

The fully automatic machine, bought just about a month ago at a cost of Rs 25,000, was working poorly from the very day of purchase, prompting an angry Pednekar to demand replacement. Such was his zeal that he trudged to the store in spite of having been unwell for the past few days.

The vigilance section under the Octroi department confirmed that it had received orders for a raid on the Vijay Sales outlet from Pednekar.

“As per information received from the Civic Law Committee chairman Raju Pednekar, I sent a team to check whether Vijay Sales cleared all octroi payments. However the authorities at Vijay Sales have assured us that they would submit all documents and receipts pertaining to Octroi payment in two days, after which we will be able to furnish a report on the same.

But according to our knowledge and the basic details with us, there is no such problem or violation in their store,” said C S Panchal, deputy assessor and collector. He also confirmed that the civic team was in the store till late hours in the night on Thursday.

Store speaks
Confirming the incident, Vishal Rajapurkar, store manager at Vijay Sales, Goregaon (West), said, “Yes, he had come along with four to five men to have his washing machine exchanged, but the procedure for exchange takes some time, and that’s what we asked from him. Fortunately, we got a new machine for him and replaced it today. The problem has been resolved from our end. All our bills are clear and we are not fearing any report.”

The other side
Pednekar said, “I went there for personal work in the evening, and we have nothing to do with the raid that took place later in the night. The BMC is going to start checking octroi payment of all the electronic appliance showrooms to ensure it is being paid properly. It was sheer coincidence that the raid took place after I went there. I was not well earlier and thus could not go there before.” 

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