More than a year after it was alleged that Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey mansion ‘Antilia’ on Altamount Road had encroached upon a footpath, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has demolished the unlawful construction.
In answer to a query filed by a city-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, it was revealed that a couple of weeks ago, the mansion staff were compelled to remove a sloping bund wall and some flower beds from the footpath abutting Mr. Ambani’s residence following a notice from the BMC.
“The BMC had earlier bent the rules to ‘regularise’ the anomaly… now, the civic body officials have said the unlawful stretch has finally been cleared,” said RTI activist Anil Galgali who has been pursuing this matter.
“The incident sends out a clear message that no one can bend rules no matter how wealthy he or she may be,” he said. According to Mr. Galgali, the Ambani residence had encroached on 309.31 sq. metres of setback area (the mansion is spread across 37,000 sq metres).
He alleged that while the architects of the mansion had handed over 309.31 sq metres of land to the BMC in lieu of extra floor space index (FSI), they went ahead and constructed a sloping bund wall there. “When the local ward office pointed out the irregularity in December 2010, the architects at the time cited vague ‘security reasons’ for the illicit construction,” Mr. Galgali told The Hindu.
According to him, the architects had allegedly sent a letter to BMC, stating that the Ambanis’ security consultants had recommended that there shouldn’t be a public parking space in front of the entry and exit gates, and that the bund wall was constructed to ensure safety.
“The architects had allegedly promised to ‘maintain and guard’ the setback area till such time the BMC requires it,” Mr. Galgali said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Municipal Commissioner (D Ward) Parag Masurkar said the civic body had decided to reclaim the setback area.