Telecom firm alleges bullying by political goons

Jun 13, 2013, 04:14 IST | Sukirt D. Gumaste

Representatives of the private company say some miscreants � claiming to be workers of Bharatiya Janata Party � tried to extort money from them by disrupting cable rectification work on Senapati Bapat Road, and also manhandled an official of the firm in the presence of a PMC functionary during a meeting called to sort out the issue.

Were they political party workers or plain hooligans? A private telecom company has claimed these miscreants – claiming to be affiliated to BJP – tried to extort Rs 2 lakh fro it by creating hurdles in its cable rectification work. The goons allegedly approached representatives of the firm and demanded money, claiming that the work going on was unlawful.

Power play: Senapati Bapat Road, where cable rectification work of a private telecom company was forcibly stalled by some alleged political party workers. File Pic

When all the legal documents pertaining to the project were shown to them, the offenders approached civic body officials to stop the work. But as these attempts failed, a few of them allegedly manhandled one of the company officials at a meeting conducted in PMC office.

Company sources say while the work was in progress at Senapati Bapat Road, some men, claiming to be workers of BJP, approached the officials and demanded to see permission documents and maps regarding the work.

To resolve this issue PMC functionaries had conducted a meeting with the representatives of the ‘workers’ and company officials. During the meeting, the alleged political workers manhandled an official of the private company in front of the security in-charge of PMC.

“These workers are pressurising us to take action. Actually the company has taken proper permission and has all the documents. We have experienced these types of tactics for bribes in the past. For not taking action they also made allegations of corruption against us,” said a senior official of PMC who was present at the meeting.

Santosh Pawar, security in-charge of PMC, and Pramod Nirbhavane, additional city engineer (roads), have confirmed the incident of manhandling during the meeting to MiD DAY.

“This is a recurrent problem faced by every company. During work like this, these miscreants directly demand money – between 50 thousand to 10 lakh rupees depending on the type of work. In case their terms are not accepted they start to create problems in the name of legality. They don’t have the right to ask for documents.

A corporator or a senior leader of any party is not involved in such cases. These objections are raised by hooligans affiliated to political parties. They manhandled me in front of PMC officials and threatened us to stop work. We are going to take strict action. Our legal department is handling this issue,” said a functionary of the private company.

Ravindra Salegaokar, representative of these ‘workers’, and who claims to be the president of BJP in the Shivajinagar constituency, was present at the meeting. “The official of the private company spoke in abusive language and that is why our workers lost their temper and beat him up in front of PMC executives,” he declared.

Refuting all the other charges, he said, “The telecom company and PMC officials are jointly misusing public property. The underground cable work at Senapati Bapat Road was completed in 2001; the current work is for rectification. They had only taken permission for digging. In this case they need special permission for rectification by submitting proper application.

They don’t have maps for the work.” He also said that in case the work does not stop, he and his men are going to stage a protest before PMC.

When contacted, Anil Shirole, city BJP president, said, “I have been appointed on the post just two days ago. So, I have no knowledge of this issue. I will call a meeting and gather all the information regarding this matter. But an act like manhandling is not at all acceptable. It tarnishes the image of the party. We will take action against party workers if they are found guilty. 

Rs 2  lakh The amount of money the miscreants allegedly tried to extort

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