The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Divisional Commissioner, Konkan region, to inquire into more than 160 allegedly illegal private bungalows constructed along a beach in Alibaug, including that of fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Sambhuraje Yuvakranti, an NGO, seeking directions to remove the unauthorised constructions carried out within the low tide and high tide area along Alibaug by “wealthy and law breaking people” by showing themselves as agriculturist.
According to the petitioner, there are around 175 such private bungalows in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas in villages such as Varsoli, Sasvane, Kolgaon and Dokvade, among others, all in Raigad district’s Alibaug taluka.
According to the petition, these structures belongs to Nirav Modi and many other businessmen.
A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice R I Chagla said that the Divisional Commissioner, Konkan, will “ascertain in what manner action has initiated in more than 160 illegal construction on the ground of violation of CRZ regulation and/or construction being carried out with being any permission from the competent authority or in violations of the permissions granted”.
The bench said that the report should be submitted to Principal Secretary of Revenue and Forest Department. The court also said that concerned authorities are free to take action in accordance with law.
The bench held, “The issue is not only of violation of CRZ regulations but also illegal construction made in coastal zone areas or beaches, there is complete non-application of mind by all the authorities. The case of Modi, to say the least is shocking.”
The court observed: “If there are large number of illegal construction in the coastal area, the same will not only violate the laws relating to environment but it will amount to destruction of our ecosystem. Such structures will pollute the coastal areas will violate fundamental right of the citizen under article 21 of the constitution of India.”