Demolition of the Sara Sahara - the shopping complex illegally constructed by the Dawood Ibrahim gang on Central Public Works Department (CPWD) land - has been an unexpected casualty of Tuesday's serial blasts in the city.
With the entire police force busy with the bomb blast investigations, the BMC has decided to postpone the proposed demolition for lack of security personnel to assist it. The Supreme Court had recently upheld the Bombay High Court's order directing the demolition of the structures allegedly built on the land by Dawood -- the main accused in the 1993 blasts that left more than 250 dead in the city.
Brihan Mumbai Corporationofficial V.M Balamwar, who will oversee the demolitions, said the lack of police protection had made them postpone the demolition dates. BMC sources said the demolitions would now be taken up from Wednesday, if they get the requisite police protection.
The officials expect trouble from the shopkeepers in the complex, whose review petition for extension had been turned down by the apex court.
The illegal constructions are spread over 20,000 square feet, and comprise seven large structures and around 30 shanties. The area, called the Mumin compound, is much larger than the actual shopping complex.
The BMC has seen embarrassing moments after the Sara Sahara case broke in 2003 with the arrest of Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar. Senior BMC officials, including a ward officer Kiran Acharekar were arrested and charged under the stringent MCOCA.
A departmental enquiry in September 2003 suggested punishments against the 15 civic officials involved in the case. A four-member scrutiny committee, had submitted it's report in February 2006, indicting 11 of the 15 officials. The committee had recommended punishments ranging from downgrading the guilty officials’ posts to reduction in salary.