Prove land-grab charges and I will quit: Waikar
Soon after he landed in the city after a week-long vacation in London, Waikar called a press conference on Wednesday to refute allegations made against him by the Mumbai Congress unit chief Sanjay Nirupam.mumbai Updated: Jun 30, 2016 01:08 IST
Shiv Sena leader and minister for housing, Ravindra Waikar, who is facing a raft of allegations of wrongdoing, has said he is ready to demolish illegal construction at a gym he controls in the Aarey Colony.
Soon after he landed in the city after a week-long vacation in London, Waikar called a press conference on Wednesday to refute allegations made against him by the Mumbai Congress unit chief Sanjay Nirupam. “When the Aarey Colony administration gave us permission to build the gymnasium, it did not say anything about the number of floors. It asked us to demolish the additional floor after construction work was over. However, I am ready to rectify the errors, which include demolition of the irregular structure,” Waikar said.
Nirupam was quick to respond: “The explanation shows that Waikar has accepted that there is an illegal floor. Although the order of demolition was given a year ago, Waikar did not allow it to happen misusing his ministerial powers.” Nirupam said he wondered how many tribals used the gymnasium, which was ostensibly built for them.
Replying to Nirupam’s charge that he and his aides had cornered six slum redevelopment projects in the Andheri-Jogeshwari area, Waikar attempted to drag chief minister Devendra Fadnavis into the controversy. He claimed that the Fadnavis-headed urban development (UD) department approved the slum redevelopment projects in Jogeshwari and Andheri area.
“How can I misuse my powers when chief minister-headed UD department approved these projects? The UD secretary can say more on this. In addition, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has permitted the projects in the area,” Waikar said.
Waikar also offered to quit as Minister if Nirupam could prove he tried to grab 20 acres in Aarey Colony. To substantiate his allegation about land grabbing, Nirupam said a private builder was found dumping debris on the land behind the gymnasium, which was run by a trust controlled by Waikar. “How can builder dump debris in the colony? Did it take the permission? The entire conspiracy is to take the land in its possession illegally,” Nirupam said.
He had also questioned Waikar’s decision to hand over two gardens in the colony to the builder, which deployed its security guards there. Waikar said he would ask the realty firm to remove its private security guards.