BMC razes Kangana’s office, actress threatens to expose CM
‘Illegal’ part pulled down before HC stay order came
In a day of high drama witnessed in Mumbai’s upmarket Pal Hill area, the demolition squad of the Shiv Sena-run Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) pulled down Kangana Raut’s office at Bandra (illegal portions) by the time the Bombay High Court ordered a stay on the process, even as an aggrieved actress ranted and raved, came up with a “….. tujhe kya lagta hai?” dare for Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whom she threatened to expose.
After her air journey from Himachal Pradesh to Mumbai during which an angry actress took to twitter to reiterate “…Mumbai is PoK now #deathofdemocracy”, “Pakistan” and termed the civic employees as “Babar and his army”, Kangana arrived at her Bungalow 5, Chetak Row House located along Pali Hill’s Nargis Dutt Road at Bandra (west) in north-west Mumbai to a virtual trial of destruction caused by a swift and elaborate demolition carried out by the BMC workers at her bungalow, which houses the office of her film production company, Manikarnika Films Pvt Ltd.
Kangana has come under fire from various quarters for controversial statements comparing Mumbai to “Pak-Occupied Kashmir” and saying “it seems Mumbai is addicted to blood” and dubbing Bollywood as an “Islam-dominated” film industry. Protests erupted in Mumbai and other cities against the actress. Shiv Sena activists burnt her effigy and pictures in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Thane, Palghar, Nashik. On its part, the BJP too has distanced from Kangana’s “anti-Mumbai” comments.
By the time Bombay High Court stayed the demolition of the process of Kangana’s bungalow, the BMC employees – who had come armed with big drill machines, hammers, sledgehammers and crowbars and a JCB machine – pulled down the allegedly illegal portions involving at the bungalow.
Going by the clinical manner in which the BMC undertook demolition on Wednesday, the die had been cast on Monday when it served a notice on Kangana about the alleged “illegal” constructions at the bungalow. The BMC followed it up by rejecting the reply provided by the actress’ lawyers and pasting a response at 10.35 am on Wednesday at the door of Kangana’s bungalow.
The notice – served under section 354A of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act — had among other things had stated, “There is ongoing renovation and finishing work to the unauthorised portion at the premises which is beyond the approved plan which includes – toilet unauthorisedly converted into office cabin on ground floor, unauthorised kitchen is constructed in store room on ground floor, new toilets are unauthorisedly constructed beside staircase inside store and another in parking area on ground floor. Unauthorised pantry is constructed on the ground floor. Unauthorised room/cabin with wooden partition made in the living room on the first floor. Unauthorised meeting room/cabin with wooden partition made in a pooja room on the first floor.”
“Unauthorised construction of toilets in an open chowk area with brick masonry walls and slab on first floor. Unauthorised horizontal extension of slab at front side admeasuring 2’ 6” on first floor, staircase orientation is changed on second floor and balcony found enclosed in habitable area by removing partition walls on second floor. Unauthorised horizontal extension of slab at front side admeasuring 3’ on second floor, bedroom of adjoining bungalow no. 4 is merged into bungalow no. 5 by removing the partition wall on the second floor. Toilet of adjoining bedroom (i.e., bungalow no. 4) is found removed and the same area is used as a habitable area on the second floor, position of main entrance gate is found changed,” the notice had stated.
The demolition began at 11 am. As the demolition was going, Kangana who was on way from Himachal Pradesh took to twitter. In the first of her many tweets put out during the day, Kangana said, “I am never wrong and my enemies prove again and again this is why my Mumbai is POK now #deathofdemocracy””. She followed it up with tweets like “Pakistan #deathofdemocracy”” and Uddhav Thackeray and civic employees as “Babar and his army #deathofdemocracy””,
Referring to Uddhav as “tujhe”, Kangana launched an all out war against the Maha Vikas Aghadi Government. “Uddhav tujhe kya lagta hai? (what do you think?)… colluded along with the film mafia, demolished my home and took revenge on me? My home was demolished today, your arrogance will crumble tomorrow,” Ranaut said in a video message on her arrival in Mumbai.
As the BMC was in the midst of the demolition of alleged illegal structures in her bungalow, Kangana — who was on her way from Himachal Pradesh to Mumbai, compared her office to Ram mandir and said Babar is demolishing it. She compared BMC officials to “Babar army” and said that history would repeat itself and she will reconstruct her ‘mandir’.
“This is the wheel of time, remember, it never stays the same,” she said, adding that she could sense as to what could have happened with Kashmiri pandits. “Today, I promise that I will make a film on Kashmir like Ayodhya…..Uddhav ….I feel good that it has happened to me…it has a meaning,” he said.
In some more tweets out during the day, Kangana said, “Come Udhav and Karan Johar gang you broke my work place come now break my house then break my face and body, I want world to see clearly what you anyway do underhand, whether I live or die I will expose you regardless.”
“My office was suddenly declared illegal in the last 24 hours, they have destroyed everything inside including furniture and lights and now I am getting threats they will come to my house and break it as well, I am glad my judgement of the movie mafia’s favourite world’s best CM was right,” she tweeted.
“There is no illegal construction in my house, also the Government has banned any demolitions in Covid till September 30, Bullywood watch now this is what fascism looks like,” she tweeted.
Soon after the demolition began, Kangana’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui moved the Bombay High Court and got a 24-hour reprieve against the demolition. The court has sought a reply from the BMC, which it would hear on Thursday.
“The action of the BMC is illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and without application of mind, in violation of principles of natural justice, unreasonable and improper,” he told a HC division bench comprising justice SJ Kathawalla and justice RI Chagla.
Earlier, as she landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, a huge crowd of Shiv Sainiks was seen raising slogans, while on the other said RPI and a faction of Karni Sena had assembled to support her.
Kangana, who has been accorded Y-plus category security by the Centre and who had earlier been seen on TV channels by people across the country through visuals walking within a security cordon with 11 personnel, was whisked away from the VIP gate of the city airport by her security personnel to prevent her coming face to face with the crowd.
Slamming the actress for her frequent criticism of Mumbai and the Mumbai police, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said, “The demolition was done as per law”.
In a related development, differences arose within the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government over the manner in which the demolition of portions of Kangana’s bungalow were carried out earlier in the day.
Making no bones about his displeasure over the issue, NCP chief Sharad Pawar – who played a key role in the formation of the MVA Government in November last year – said, “We are giving undue importance to those making such statements. We will have to see what influence such statements have at people at large. In my opinion people do not take (such statements) seriously.”
Pawar said while the BMC acted “as per rules”, the timing of the demolition drive had sent out a wrong message to the public.
“But in the current situation, such actions raise doubts in the peoples’ minds… By taking the action, she has got the opportunity to speak out. It needs to be checked why the action was taken by BMC now,” Pawar said.
Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut chose not to comment on the demolition. “It is the BMC that has undertaken the demolition. Its officials must have done home before undertaking the action”.
Kangana’s is not the first Bollywood personality to have been acted against by the BMC for an alleged illegal construction. Earlier, on January 9,2018, the BMC’s anti-encroachment department officials had pulled down some allegedly unauthorised portions in yesteryear actor and then BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha’s eight-storied bungalow “Ramayan” at Juhu in north-west Mumbai.
The BMC had earlier pulled down illegal structures constructed by several other Bollywood personalities, including Shah Rukh Khan and Kapil Sharma. In October last year, the BMC had served notices on some others like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajkumar Hirani for alleged violations at their Goregaon bungalows.
Thursday, 10 September 2020 | TN Raghunatha| Mumbai
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