Environmentalist and founder member of Bombay Environment Action Group (BEAG), Debi Goenka, was given a relief by the Bombay High Court on Thursday. The court has stayed a criminal compliant lodged against Goenka.
A division bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice PD Kode stayed the compliant while admitting Goenka’s petition. “Prima facie, it seems that the complaint has been lodged out of vengeance. He and some others had gone to check whether environmental damage was caused due to destruction of mangroves,” said Justice Khanwilkar.
Goenka had filed a petition in the high court in June seeking quashing of the FIR filed against him on May 24 for trespassing, assault and criminal intimidation by one Ketan Shah, proprietor of Ravi Jyot Finance.
Anil D'Souza, Goenka’s advocate, argued that he (Goenka) and some government officers had gone to a plot of land in Borivli (East), which is covered with mangroves, for inspection. The high court in 2005 stayed all construction activities in and around mangroves areas.
Goenka said the land is owned by the Kamathis. Shah claimed that he had bought the plot. Shah had approached the Supreme Court earlier this year seeking permission to repair a bund, as the plot is adjacent to a saltpan.
The apex court granted permission for repairing the bund and clarified that no other work was to be done. On May 3, Goenka and some government officers went to survey the plot. Goenka had alleged that under the guise of repairs, mangroves were being destroyed.
Another survey was conducted on May 18, when Goenka took some pictures. He has alleged that some goons sent by the developer attacked them and even snatched away his camera.