It was an odd beginning to the weekly press conference that took place at the civic body on Thursday.
Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak resembled a schoolteacher as he walked in with a small blackboard. The blackboard read: ‘I must never let the general interest of the organisation down because it is the easiest way out.’ — F.D. Roosevelt. “I believe in this quote and that is why I refused to pay Rs 5 lakh directly. It would have become law,” said Phatak, who employed this device to explain his stance in the Sion hospital’s missing baby case.
On January 1, the two-day-old son of Mohan and Mohini Nerurkar was stolen from government-run Sion hospital. After the police failed to trace the baby, the couple moved to the court for justice. The court had asked how much compensation the corporation was ready to pay to the parents for the lax security at hospital to which Phatak had refused.
The BMC’s affidavit denied the responsibility to pay compensation in affidavit saying it will lay a precedent for other cases. “I did not mean anything negative. It would have been easiest to pay Rs 5 lakh and finish the matter. Today’s heartlessness is better than mindlessness forever,” Phatak said.
He said in case he granted Rs 5 lakh, there could be several bogus cases asking for compensation.