The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration will move a proposal at the next general body meeting seeking to disqualify senior Shiv Sena leader and four-time corporator Mangesh Satamkar over alleged illegal encroachment.
Satamkar, who had contested the Assembly election in 2014 from Sion-Koliwada, is now the Education Committee chairperson. He is accused of constructing an illegal “zunka bhakar kendra” named “Annadata Aahar Kendra”, an eatery providing food at subsidised rates, at Saradar Nagar – 1 of Sion-Koiliwada.
A complaint was filed by former Congress corporator from Antop Hill, Lalita Yadav, demanding Satamkar’s disqualification from the corporator’s post, accusing him of involvement in an illegal construction.
Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta’s order confirming Satamkar’s involvement in the illegal construction and decision on his disqualification will be tabled in the next general body meeting, scheduled next week, for approval. It will then be sent to the small causes court. Sena runs the BMC with 95 corporators.
Not a first
The Shiv Sena’s image might be dented just before the elections, in case the small causes court proceeds with Satamkar’s disqualification. Satamkar, who has held several key posts in the BMC, is on the list of probable candidates in case the Sena decides to go solo in the election. His disqualification will also weaken Sena’s leadership in the BMC since it may been seen as backing the illegal construction. However, this is not a first. Corporators from the BJP and the Congress have earlier lost their posts because of alleged illegal constructions.
A copy of the proposal, accessed by The Indian Express, says: “It is clear that not only has he constructed, but has also continued with illegal structure while he was councillor. Thus, he cannot absolve himself on the ground that construction was done before he became a councillor. On perusal of section 16 (D) and section 18 of Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, I (Mehta) have come to the conclusion that Mangesh Satamkar falls under purview of section 16 (1D) of MMC Act, read with S/18 of MMC Act, therefore, I pass the order to submit the proposal before General Body for approval to apply to the chief judge of Small Causes Court to decide disqualification of Mr Satamkar.”
According to the proposal, Satamkar was granted permission to construct the “zunka bhakar kendra” with an area not exceeding 120 sq ft. But he violated the rule by constructing a 600 sq ft structure and building the first floor of a hotel without seeking permission from the corporation.
Following this, former corporator Yadav filed several complaints with the BMC seeking to demolish the structure and disqualify Satamkar.
Yadav had filed a writ petition in Bombay High Court against BMC’s alleged inaction. On August 14 last year, the court ordered the BMC to take appropriate action after hearing all parties.
Yadav contended that Satamkar should be disqualified from his post under Section 16 (1D) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act of 1988, which states that if a corporator constructs encroachments, he/she should be disqualified.
The disqualification could prove to be a setback for the Sena, as Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are scheduled in state in a few months.
Asked about the development, Satamkar told The Indian Express: “BMC’s proposal is unfair, as it did not give notices for the structure. The structure was constructed in 1997 under the state government’s zunka bhakar kendra policy. The state had granted permission for 215 zunka bhakar kendras in the city and none of them required permission under the Development Control Regulations. Agreement for the structure was renewed with the collector. In 2017, when the civic body had issued a notice, I had removed a shed structure and now, there is nothing illegal. The matter is also subjudice. When the proposal is tabled, I will present my side with all documents. The civic body did not follow proper procedure before issuing the order. I have not been given any speaking orders or further notices.”