The Bombay High Court slammed the Bandra police for failing to lodge an FIR against the promoter of the Pali - Pereirawadi redevelopment scheme despite a recommendation from the High Power Committee (HPC).
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Mridula Bhatkar came down heavily on the police and directed the investigating officer to be present in court while it hears a petition filed by 44 residents seeking to lodge an FIR against builder-developer Dilip Bobde-Patil and chief promoter Cyril Macwan.
Mihir Desai and Rebecca Gonsalves, advocates for the residents, told the court that the HPC – formed by the government after an HC order – had found the builder-developer and chief promoter guilty of submitting fake ration cards.
Despite the HPC finding, the police have not filed an FIR against them, said Desai. The petition filed by Poonam Parmar and 43 other residents, says the HPC had scrutinised the scheme – floated under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority – and reached a conclusion that the developer-builder and promoter were guilty of enhancing the number of tenants by submitting fake ration cards.
The HPC’s report said a local tehsildar had registered an FIR against the two. In October 2008, the police lodged an FIR against 12 people for allegedly submitting fake ration cards. “Of those 12, three were found to be fictitious,” the petition says.
Justice Desai asked why the developer and promoter were not booked. “Why have they been excluded? Why has the police let off most of the culprits, when the HPC has made recommendations to take action against them?” she asked.
The HC has directed the investigation officer to remain present in court on Wednesday with all the records on the case. “We need to check the entire record to see why the two have been left out by the police,” Justice Desai said.
The residents of Pereirawadi, a 125-year-old settlement, have been engaged in a legal battle since part of their structure was demolished in June 2008, leaving 21 families homeless. The redevelopment has not begun yet as the issue is pending in court.