Ex-MLA files cross-complaint,says officials sought bribe.
Former Ulhasnagar MLA Pappu Kalani was arrested for assaulting officials of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) demolisihing illegal structures in the area. Kalani was later released on bail.
Kalani,a two-time MLA from Ulhasnagar and former TADA detenu,is at present associated with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). He was arrested based on a complaint on Monday by UMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Shekar Bhadane,who heads the demolition cell of the corporation.
According to the complaint,a team of UMC officials was demolishing an illegal office of NCP functionary Pitu Rajwani when Kalani and his men assaulted Bhadane and Additional Municipal Commissioner Sagar Gholap.
Senior Inspector Siddharth Wagh said Kalani and his 10 bodyguards have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Bombay Police Act for assault on government servants and preventing them from doing their duty.
Kalani,meanwhile,lodged a cross-complaint against UMC officials,saying that they were seeking a bribe of Rs 2 lakh for not demolishing the structure.
Following the building collapse in Mumbra that claimed 74 lives,the state administration has gone into overdrive in the crackdown against illegal structures. There have been talks that many of these illegal structures are sprouting due to the political patronage the builders of such structures enjoy.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had faced criticism in the early 90s for allegedly going soft on Kalani despite his alleged criminal record. Apart from charges of murder,Kalani was booked under TADA,for which he spent close to nine years in jail. In 2004,Kalani parted ways with the NCP to fight elections on Republican Party of India ticket. He,however,lost the election. He returned to the NCP seeking primary membership in 2009.
Several illegal structures in Ulhasnagar have allegedly come up due to the patronage of Kalani family. Kalanis clout in the area,however,has been on the wane after he lost the legislative elections as well as control over the UMC.