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Pay the price, HC to Sena

The Shiv Sena will have to pay Rs 5.8 lakh for vandalising the premises of Hotel Intercontinental [now Hotel Intercontinental The Lalit] at Sahar in January 2009.

mumbai Updated: Mar 05, 2010 02:11 IST
HT Correspondent

The Shiv Sena will have to pay Rs 5.8 lakh for vandalising the premises of Hotel Intercontinental [now Hotel Intercontinental The Lalit] at Sahar in January 2009.

The Bombay High Court, on Thursday, asked Sena member, Sitaram Dalvi, to ask the party to pay for damaging the hotel.

Dalvi is facing proceedings for recovery of Rs 7.8 lakh for damaging hotel property during protests over the sacking of some employees. Dalvi had already deposited Rs 2 lakh before moving court.

“Go to your party chief and ask him to come out with the balance amount from party funds,” said a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Mridula Bhatkar. “Prima facie it has been found that Shiv Sena was responsible for the damages and not this person [Dalvi].”

Dalvi has been given a day to get back to the court with a response.

Political parties have been getting away with vandalism. The state government had recently told the court that it did not wish to take action against senior party leaders, such as Thackeray, for political vandalism.

Citizen activists hope if the Sena is made to pay to the hotel, it will send a strong message to other parties.

Dalvi moved the HC after the suburban collector issued him a notice in October 2009 to pay Rs. 7.8 lakh as compensation. Dalvi argued that though the police booked 42 persons in the offence, he was singled out when proceedings for recovery of damages were initiated.

His lawyer, Shriram Kulkarni, said that other party leaders like senior leader, Sanjay Raut, legislators, Suryakant Mahadik and Anil Parab, and some office bearers of the party’s labour, Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, had also participated in the march. But, they were not asked to pay.

Dalvi had, on Wednesday, said that Raut and Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, should also be made to pay for damages.

Public Prosecutor, Usha Kejriwal, however maintained that Dalvi was responsible for the damages because he had organised the protest. But the judges were not convinced. They said political vandalism was taking place “too often”. “We don’t want these incidents being repeated. We are more concerned with the people,” said Justice Desai.

Kulkarni, meanwhile, argued that revenue officials had failed to fix the liability on all the members of the unlawful assembly according to the Bombay Police Act. However, the judges said that will be considered during the final hearing on Dalvi’s plea.