THE RAIGAD civic authorities are considering the process of controlled detonation to demolish the Rupanya bungalow at Alibaug in Raigad belonging to fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in the PNB scam case.
The bungalow, valued at Rs 42 crore by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), is made of reinforced concrete and is proving too hard and time consuming for the JCB machines to demolish, sources said. It was declared illegal and unauthorised in December, 2018 by the Raigad collector. It is situated in Kihim and is a see-facing property.
“Not only is the house reinforced, there is a lot of underground construction that the machines can’t reach,” said an official from the collector’s office.
The demolition process began on January 25 after the ED handed over the possession of the bungalow to the local authorities.
“The house has a lot of expensive imported fixtures. There is a considerable amount of construction, which we are trying to demolish… We are considering detonation… though it is an easy option, it is difficult to control and the land, which is an ecologically sensitive area, will suffer a lot of damage,” said the official.
However, the collector said that they are still looking for options to demolish the bungalow. “It is not yet decided that the property will be detonated. The house is a strong structure and it will take time to demolish it completely,” said Raigad Collector Vijay Suryawanshi.
The bungalow is being razed following a Bombay High Court order last month, directing demolition of illegal structures built by Modi and others. The order followed a public interest litigation filed by NGO Shamburaje Yuva Kranti in 2009, demanding action against illegal bungalows, hotels and resorts violating the high tide and low tide zones in tiny villages along the beaches of Raigad.
In December last year, the collector had written to Modi asking him to raze the structure on his own. As there was no response, the ED had taken possession of the house.“The house had a lot of expensive articles, all of which has been seized by the ED. It has been constructed with materials imported from Indonesia and Bali. We have provided enough personnel to the demolition squad to ensure that no theft occurs,” said an officer from Alibaug police.