The Mumbai Police filed an FIR against comedian Kapil Sharma on Wednesday for illegal construction at his Versova home and for destroying mangroves nearby after an order from the Andheri Magistrate Court. In an order passed on December 9, Magistrate A A Panchbhai noted that Sharma’s bungalow in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Nagar in Versova is in the Coastal Regulation Zone II area and Sharma committed a “clear-cut violation” of the Environment Protection Act.
The court also observed that “destruction of the biologically rich patch of mangroves being catastrophic in nature and detrimental to our eco-system could not be prevented by initiating a criminal action against the wrong-doers as earlier attempts made by the applicant/complainant to various authorities have fallen on deaf years.”
The court has also asked the police to submit a report of their investigation.
In September, Sharma had tweeted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that an unidentified BMC official had demanded a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to give a go-ahead for additions to his office. A subsequent probe by the BMC and police showed that Sharma had been served a stop-work notice in July for illegal construction and dumping debris in the mangroves behind his home. Sharma also failed to provide the identity of the civic official who he claimed had demanded the bribe.
The Versova police station has also booked Sharma under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act for commencing construction without the BMC’s permission and under the Indian Penal Code for failing to report to the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau that a public servant had demanded a bribe.
Advocate Abha Singh who approached the court, said it is now expected that the police will initiate an action against Sharma. “In my mind, the allegation for corruption is a bigger offence. I was expecting the municipal commissioner to also order an inquiry, but at the least the police have now been compelled to act,” she said.