Residents allege actor violated BMC regulations during construction

Even as the standoff between BMC officials and residents of Worli’s Campa Cola compound over demolition of unauthorised floors came to an end on Sunday, a similar scenario is emerging at Versova in suburban Mumbai.

Some residents of an Air India Co-operative Housing Society named ‘Shantiniketan’ have complained that Hindi film actor Arshad Warsi — who acted as Circuit in Munnabhai MBBS — in blatant violation of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regulations, is constructing a second floor measuring 1300 sq. ft. on a bungalow he bought in the society.

Mr. Warsi and his wife Maria Goretti purchased Tenement No. 10 from a retired Air India Captain in 2012 and took permission from the society in 2013 to renovate and refurbish it before moving in but instead allegedly constructed a full second floor, consumed the mandatory open space beyond the plinth and put up a lift violating Floor Space Index (FSI) rules.

All the FSI available in the whole society plot has been previously consumed by members and the Urban Land Ceiling (ULC) department has banned any additional construction.

“There being no permissible FSI available on the plot, Arshad Warsi was informed by the society to stop the construction but took on the society and defied orders and continued illegal work. At an EGM, he said he had the connections to manage the BMC. Construction is almost complete and they may move in shortly,” said a member asking not to be named.

“I am a law abiding citizen and I am against all sort of violations including this. When I saw Mr. Warsi blatantly indulging in illegal construction in connivance with BMC officials, I decided to protest. I had written many letters to the society and the BMC to take action, but the illegal construction was allowed,” said another resident, a former Air India employee.

In September last year, the society initially complained to the BMC following which part of the unauthorised structure was demolished. But soon work started in full swing, alleged residents.

Pressured by some members, the society wrote to the authorities again.

“The construction started once again and the unauthorised RCC work now completed is far exceeding the plinth area and FSI. The second floor constructed by Tenement No. 10 is totally unauthorised. Due to this unauthorised act we have two groups of residents now,” the society’s secretary wrote to the BMC and police.

“One set of residents who have complained are law abiding. The second set feels that the unauthorised construction should be allowed so that they can also proceed with their unauthorised work of similar nature. This is creating serious law and order problem and we foresee a worse scenario. If strong action is not taken this will result in multiple Campa Cola type of cases in our society,” the secretary wrote.

In an earlier letter the society had urged the BMC to take action as the additional construction by the actor could affect the total FSI consumption on the layout comprising 36 bungalows and a 14-storied tower originally inhabited by Air India employees. Now some properties have changed hands and ground plus one bungalows here costs around Rs 7 crore each.

“The approval for the bungalow (No. 10) was for a ground plus one structure. But he (Mr Warsi) had constructed a second floor. Residents had complained about this bungalow in October 2013. We had demolished it the following month. If there is still some violation, I will get it examined and take action accordingly,” said Vishwas Shankarwar, assistant municipal commissioner, K/West ward, BMC.

Calls made to Mr. Warsi’s mobile number remained unanswered. When The Hindu messaged him, he did respond but asked vague questions without responding to the allegations made by the society members.

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