‘Sena man arrested for Ghatkopar building collapse named in 6 illegal construction cases in Mumbai’

Sunil Sitap was arrested in the Ghatkopar case on Tuesday night and was produced before a court on Wednesday. He has been remanded in police custody for seven days

mumbai Updated: Jul 27, 2017 10:38 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Ghatkopar,Shiv Sena
Sunil Shitap was produced in Vikhroli court on Wednesday.(Hindustan Times)

Shiv Sena leader Sunil Shitap, arrested in connection with the collapse of Siddhi Sai, a five-storey structure in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar, has been named in six cases of unauthorised construction, alleged former Congress corporator from the area, Pravin Chedda.

Sitap was arrested in the Ghatkopar case on Tuesday night and was produced before a court on Wednesday. He has been remanded in police custody for seven days. He has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (causing death by negligence), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

CM too faced embarrassment
  • Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had to allegedly once face embarrassment after he unknowingly visited a lounge run by Shitap in Powai
  • Sometime ago, an Opposition legislator alleged that Fadnavis was present for inauguration of an illegal lounge. Replying to the allegation, Fadnavis had clarified that he had visited the place on an invitation by a journalist for birthday of the latter’s son. He had no knowledge whether it was a bar or a lounge, he had added.

According to Chheda, Shitap was to carry out an illegal construction on a 25,000-sqft recreation ground at Sainath Nagar in Ghatkopar. Chheda claimed he objected to it and took up the matter with municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta who eventually ordered an inquiry. Then assistant commissioner Sudhanshu Dwivedi was suspended in connection with this case, claimed Chheda.

“Shitap specialised in land grabbing and illegal constructions. He is an expert at making forged papers,” said Chheda.

Even in case of the Ghatkopar building, which collapsed on Tuesday killing 17 people, residents have accused Shitap of convertìng the building to commercial use in 2009 and starting a hospital on its ground floor.

According to residents, Shitap planned to convert the hospital into a guesthouse. The renovation work for the guesthouse weakened the building leading to its collapse, alleged residents. Shitap owns at least four shops and hotels in Ghatkopar and Powai.

His political stint started with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). He contested the BMC elections on the party’s ticket in 2012, but lost. He soon defected to the Shiv Sena, getting a ticket for his wife Swati from ward no 126 in Ghatkopar for the 2017 BMC elections. His wife too lost .

Shitap is said to be office-bearer of the Sena cell in the area. According to locals, he is a part of nexus between land mafia, police and BMC department.

The Shiv Sena has distanced itself from Shitap, calling him a party hopper. “He has no relation with the Shiv Sena. We gave a ticket to his wife as we wanted an OBC candidate. Neither Sunil nor she visited our office or kept in touch with the Sena after the elections,” said Rajendra Raut, vibhag pramukh of Ghatkopar.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 16:07 IST