Actor Kangana Ranaut has sought a compensation of Rs 2 crore from Mumbai’s municipal agency for “illegal” demolition of a part of her office in the financial and entertainment capital of the country, where real estate is among the world’s most expensive.
Ms Ranaut had approached the Bombay High Court while the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation or BMC was tearing down the walls at Manikarnika Films, her movie production house in Bandra, after which the court ordered the BMC to stop demolishing it.
The BMC had listed 14 “violations” at her office, which included a toilet apparently built in space marked for a kitchen and an office set up in an area meant for a toilet.
Ms Ranaut added her claim for Rs 2 crore in damages in an amended petition filed with the Bombay High Court, news agency PTI reported. In the amended petition, she said the demolition work was a direct result of her comments against the Maharashtra government.
“The expression used by her has displeased certain quarters and caused angst in certain quarters particularly a political party which is a part of the government in Maharashtra,” Ms Ranaut’s amended petition said, PTI reported.
The “same party” is also the ruling party in the BMC, the “Queen” actor said in her petition, without naming Shiv Sena, which runs the BMC – India’s richest municipal corporation.
Matter escalated sharply in the first week of this month after Ms Ranaut said she feared living in Mumbai, after which Shiv Sena leaders including Sanjay Raut told her she should move out of Mumbai. Then she retorted that “Mumbai feels like PoK”, short for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a comment that she repeated the day the BMC moved in for demolition work.
Ms Kangana has alleged the BMC was out to harass her as she got a notice for demolition on September 7, asking her to reply within 24 hours at a time when she was in Manali amid the coronavirus pandemic. She flew to Mumbai two days later, escorted by a ring of “Y-plus” security personnel given by the centre on her complaint that she had received threats.
The BMC’s move had raised questions like whether the actor had been given enough notice, seeing that she had been out of Mumbai for months, and why no action was taken earlier. The BMC was also called out over the timing of its action, since Ms Ranaut had announced her date of return last week.
The matter will be heard again on September 22 in the Bombay High Court.