Kapil Sharma bungalow row: Mangroves had been demolished to make way for illegal extensions, says civic body

BMC says it razed the extensions after receiving complaint from a local resident

Written by Arita Sarkar | Mumbai | Updated: September 11, 2016 9:24 am
kapil sharma, bmc, Kapil Sharma bungalow row, Kapil Sharma bungalow, kapil sharma bribe, kapil sharma comedian, kapil sharma tweet, devendra fadnavis,BMC graft charge, narendra modi, modi acche din, india news, latest news The bungalow in Andheri. (Source: Express photo by Dilip Kagda)

Even as the Twitter frenzy continued over the allegations of corruption levelled by comedian and television personality Kapil Sharma against the BMC, civic officials cited records and said Sharma had constructed illegal extensions atop and adjacent to his bungalow. Officials of K West ward office said action against these illegal construction was taken after they received a complaint that mangroves had been demolished to make way for the extensions.

Ward officials said the matter began with a complaint from Nikitesh Chaubal, a member of residents’ group Jagrut Mumbaikar, on June 29. “The complaint said the ongoing work in Sharma’s bungalow had destroyed quite a few mangrove trees after which we carried an inspection,” said Sadique Khan, assistant engineer in the building and factory department.

Another official, who did not wish to be named, pointed out that the findings of the inspection revealed that construction involving steel girdles was being done. “The mangroves begin less than a feet away from the row houses. The illegal construction, however, was around 16 feet deep into the creek and mangrove trees had been destroyed to make way for it and no approvals were sought for it. We issued them a stop work notice on July 16 and when no response came from them, we went ahead with the demolition,” said the official. He added that 80 per cent of the illegal extensions had been demolished. Complainant Chaubal said local residents had approached him with complaints of trees being burnt. “Locals said trees were being burnt every night and they feared the mangroves were being destroyed. Most of the row houses have indulged in making illegal extensions but Sharma’s bungalow was the most recent case,” he said.

Chaubal said Sharma was only trying to blackmail the civic body by making allegations of corruption on social media. “He could have approached the municipal commissioner or even the chief minister. He tagged (Narendra) Modi with the deliberate intention of evoking this kind of a response when he is clearly in the wrong,” he said.

On Friday morning, Sharma tagged the prime minister Narendra Modi to a Twitter post claiming that a civic official had demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh for the construction of his office. The tweet invited responses from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray among various other political leaders. The civic body then issued a letter to him seeking details of the case and that of the official who had demanded the bribe, promising a thorough investigation. The civic body said they were still awaiting a response from Sharma regarding the allegations he made on the public forum. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “A citizen has complained of corruption and he has a right to be heard. We have written to him asking for the details of the case and have even offered to keep it confidential. We are now waiting his response.”

Sharma did not respond to calls or messages for a comment.