Mumbai News

BMC completes 80% of razing work before stay order arrives – Times of India

MUMBAI: The BMC had carried out nearly 80% of the proposed demolitions at actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow at Pali Hill on Wednesday before the stay order arrived from the Bombay high court. Using an excavator, the civic squad pulled down awnings and partitions on the ground floor and the two storeys above it. The operation lasted more than three hours.
Civic officials said the action was taken suo motu after its staff noticed unauthorised changes in the bungalow during a routine visit to the area on Saturday. The alacrity with which BMC acted, however, left many unconvinced about the reasons.

On Monday, BMC staff had inspected the premises, using the bungalow’s original plan for reference. A 24-hour notice was pasted on the bungalow’s gate on Tuesday, warning the actor that a failure to reply would result in further action. The notice said unauthorised portions included a toilet-kitchen-pantry construction on the ground floor, an unauthorised room built using a wooden partition on the first floor, and illegal inclusion of a second floor balcony into habitable area.
Kangana, through her lawyer, had replied to the notice, denying the BMC’s allegations. However, around 10 am on Wednesday, the BMC team arrived at the bungalow with police protection. They pasted a speaking order at the bungalow’s gate, rejecting Kangana’s submission to their notice and began demolition work.
Civic officials refused to comment when asked if their action was “politically motivated.” Their action had coincided with the stand-off between Kangana and the MVA coalition over her remarks questioning Mumbai Police’s handling of the Sushant Singh Rajput probe. The actor had said she feared Mumbai cops more than the ‘movie mafia’ and also likened the city with Pakistanoccupied Kashmir. Her comments enraged the Shiv Sena, in particular.
Following the demolition, BJP leaders have now come out in support of her and criticised the BMC action. BJP MLA Ameet Satam tweeted saying he was surprised at the speed with which the BMC acted and urged similar action against other unauthorised constructions. His party colleague Vivekanand Gupta said the demolition amounted to contempt of court, since the HC judges had stayed all demolitions until September-end due to the Covid situation.
Kangana has meanwhile also circumvented the BMC’s attempt to put her in 14-day home quarantine by stating that she would fly back to Chandigarh on September 15. The rules say that someone visiting the city for less than seven days need not be home-quarantined.