Following pressure mounted by legislators from all parties including the ruling Congress, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said stern action would be taken against those who showed carelessness, violated laws, or showed undue favours in the case involving an illegal shopping centre on a plot allotted to Patliputra, a cooperative housing society of senior bureaucrats.
“There are definitely irregularities found in the structure. We will find out why the police did not include the housing society when the first information report (FIR) was lodged in the case,” Chavan said, after a heated debate on the issue that also saw adjournment of the assembly for 20 minutes as the legislators were not happy with Chavan’s announcement.
The Versova police have lodged an FIR against Waljibhai Patel, owner of Kamdhenu Shopping Centre for violation of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act. The case has been registered for merging 14 convenience shops to build a two-storey shopping centre, which was not shown in the construction plan submitted to the civic body. The question first came up before the Assembly on Tuesday, and Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil withheld it as the legislators wanted the government to lodge a case against the landowner, Patliputra Society. They had alleged that the society was not booked since its members included top bureaucrats.
As the question came up before the Assembly again on Thursday, BJP legislator Devendra Fadanvis said that the MRTP Act clearly mentioned that the landowner should be booked for the offence and wondered whether the police were under pressure not to take action against the society.
Congress legislator Baba Siddique said: “How would the police take action against a society whose member was an authority under the MRTP Act which has been violated in this case.”
Under section 153 and 156 of the Act, the municipal commissioner delegates powers to assistant commissioners to prosecute in cases of violation of the Act such as building structures that are not shown in original plan.
Chavan insisted that the BMC had sent a letter to the police in July 2010 instructing them to lodge an FIR against the society and the shopping centre owner. “The police investigated and filed the case. We will probe whether the police were under any pressure,” he said.