Shangri-La, a luxury hotel atop Palladium Mall at High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel, could face legal action for having constructed a 40-storey building without the mandatory green nod.
The state expert appraisal committee, panel of experts that scrutinises construction project over 20,000 sqm (built-up area), in a meeting held from October 4 to 6 said "the project appears to be in violation of Environment Protection Act, 1986".
It also recommended that the environment department "initiate legal action under EPA against this violation" after the verification procedure.
Construction of the hotel, which boasts of 386 rooms, began in 2004. However, its plan was amended four times since then.
The panel set up by the Union environment ministry, which scrutinised all documents of the project, including dates of approvals, layouts, noted that the developer did not seek prior environment clearance for making amendments for expansion or modification under the Environment Impact Assessment notifications prevailing during that period.
"The EIA notification of 2004 and amended in 2006 was applicable for the project. These laws called for scrutiny and clearance before starting construction or even expansion of such a project," said a panel member, requesting anonymity.
The developer had admitted to the panel in a meeting in August that the entire building was constructed with approvals of all competent authorities, except under environmental legislation.
When questioned, Shishir Srivastav, CEO, Phoenix Mills Limited, refused to comment on the issue.
It is now up to the three-member State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to take a decision.
The expert panel said as per the Union government's 2010 order, there was a process to appraise projects where substantial construction had been carried out. Under this order, projects that have violated environment laws can get a go ahead after due consideration. The developer has to give a written undertaking admitting to the violation, propose an environment management plan, and then the state government initiates legal action for the same.
In the case Lavasa Hill City case, the project got a clearance after the state initiated action for the violation and it complied with conditions such as environment management fund.