Mumbai News

BMC says no hidden motives, ‘actor doesn’t deny illegality’ – Times of India

MUMBAI: Mumbai’s civic authorities have denied any hidden motives in carrying out demolitions inside actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow in Bandra (W), while responding to a petition before the Bombay high court which has led to a stay on the work.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday said the actor’s plea seeking relief constituted “an abuse of process” as she “has unlawfully made substantial alterations and additions… contrary to the sanctioned building plan”.
The nine-page affidavit filed by BMC’s H-West ward officer said the illegal constructions include “new toilets… conversion of existing toilets in to cabins, construction of pantry, kitchen cabins, etc”.
“Both in her advocate’s reply dated September 8 and even in the petition, she has not disputed carrying out the unlawful alterations and addition,” the BMC said, adding she made “baseless and unwarranted allegations” to seek protection for “unlawful work”.
By a notice issued on September 8, the actor was required to produce permission for such work within 24 hours, failing which they would be removed “without further notice”, BMC said. Explaining the sequence of events, BMC’s counsel said, “substantial part of illegal work…was demolished by the time intimation was received that the HC has directed stay of the demolition”.
While staying the demolition on Wednesday, the bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla had said the manner in which the BMC proceeded with the demolition “prima facie… smacks of mala fide” and it gave BMC time to explain its conduct on affidavit by 3pm, Thursday.
Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy appearing with Anil Sakhare and Joel Carlos for BMC denied any “mala fides” and said “work which is clearly in contravention of sanctioned plan has been done with complete abandon. Even in the current petition there is not even an assertion that it is not unlawful”.
To this, Justice S J Kathawalla said the petition was filed “in haste” by Kangana’s counsel Rizwan Siddiquee and he had sought time to file a rejoinder to amend it. Siddiquee said he could only meet the actor after 6.30pm on Wednesday. He added that he would amend the petition by Monday.
Chinoy sought 3-4 days for BMC to then respond. HC said BMC would have to file a reply by September 17. The hearing is now scheduled for September 22. Meantime, the stay order passed by the HC “shall continue to be in force”.
Chinoy said there should be a “status quo” in the interim period and Kangana should not be allowed change anything as it was an office space. Siddiquee responded saying it was a residential premise and a househelp stays there. “There is no electricity and water,” he said. However, the bench did not issue any directions in this regard.
Kangana had claimed the demolitions were “a fallout over the difference of opinion with certain influential people operating in the administration and the Maharashtra government”.