December 5, 2016 3:57:04 am
Five months after the partial razing of the Ambedkar Bhavan building in Dadar, the state government is yet to submit its report on the role of former IAS officer and current state information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad in the demolition. In August, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that Gaikwad’s role would be probed and a report would be sent to the Governor. However, officials from the Governor’s office said they have not received any such report yet. “Though we had heard about it, the matter has not reached us yet,” said an official.
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The Dadar building housed the Buddha Bhushan printing press started by Dr B R Ambedkar. Part of the building and the press were demolished in the early hours of June 25, with the People’s Improvement Trust (PIT), which controls the property, promising a grand 17-storey Ambedkar Bhavan on the plot.
Gaikwad, an advisor to the PIT, had defended the demolition and came under sharp criticism from the Dalit community. Anandraj Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Ambedkar, had lodged an FIR with Bhoiwada police against Gaikwad and others in connection with the demolition.
Incidentally, Fadnavis had conducted a bhoomi pujan for a 17-storey tower to replace the Ambedkar Bhavan on April
14, the birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar.
“The state government must probe Gaikwad’s role and send its report to the Governor. It seems that the government is backing Gaikwad in the matter and not considering the sentiments of the Dalit community,” said Anandraj.
The community has been demanding the removal of Gaikwad as state information commissioner due to his alleged involvement in the demolition.
Earlier, a delegation led by Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe had met Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao over the Ambedkar Bhavan issue.
Meanwhile, a report in the inquiry ordered by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to investigate the role of officials is likely to be submitted this week.
The BMC had ordered a probe against officials who declared the Ambedkar Bhavan building a dilapidated and dangerous structure, and subsequently issued a notice to raze it.
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