A sessions court on Monday rejected bail applications of the two Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials, who were booked for destruction of Mangroves at Malvani and Charkop.
The Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit issued show-cause notices to the officers - Madhav Shinde, BMC executive engineer, and Vinod Tirekar, assistant engineer - on Tuesday asking them to identify the reasons why mangroves were destroyed.
“Justice DK Bhende at Dindoshi rejected BMC officers bail citing a large-scale violation of Bombay High court’s (HC) rules and demanded a full enquiry into the case so that an example can be made of deterrence for future violations,” said Makarand Ghodke, assistant conservator of forest, Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit.
Ghodke added that the officers had 72 hours to file their responses. “We will arrest the officials on Friday if the responses are not satisfactory,” he said.
HT had reported on December 15 that after a 10-day-long probe at two separate wetland sites in Mumbai, the state mangrove cell arrested nine persons and booked two BMC engineers. All others involved were released on bail by the Mumbai police.
The accused were arrested for the violation of Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Indian Forest Act, 1927 that included sections highlighting trespassing on reserved forest, clearing of land for cultivation or any purpose and destruction mangrove trees.
Even after several Bombay HC orders prohibiting construction within wetlands, rampant destruction of mangrove trees continue with zero convictions in two years. Wetlands stabilise the coastline, control erosion and provide a habitat conducive for plant and animal species; they prevent floods and filter groundwater.