Mumbai

Congress accuses Mehta of violating construction rules

Says Kamala Mills fire should instead be investigated by CBI

Mumbai: Demanding suspension of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, the Congress has alleged that he violated rules and extended permission to the illegal construction at Smaaash restaurant at Kamala Mills.

Party’s Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam on Monday presented a proposal by the executive engineer (building proposal) city, about the temporary structures for recreational activity at Smaaash.

As per the document, the engineer said that the owner/developer has already installed a racing track and other assemblies on the ground floor. “The architect has requested to regularise the same by charging penalty,” said the letter.

Accepting that there is no provision for charging the penalty, the engineer in the letter requested to charge the penalty of ₹466 per square metre for the area of elevated racing track.

Approval of the deputy chief engineer (BP) city, chief engineer (DP), and the commissioner was sought. The proposal was submitted on May 25, 2016, and received clearance from Mr. Mehta within six days.

“By the BMC’s own admission, elevated racing tracks do not come under temporary structures which are allowed,” said Mr Nirupam. “It was a clear violation of BMC rules by top officials. The rot in the BMC is at the very top.”

Demanding suspension of Mr. Mehta, the Mumbai Congress chief said that the person involved in legalising illegal structures should not be involved in the probe into the Kamala Mills fire. “He is complicit in the entire process. Investigations must be carried out either by the CBI, or there should be a judicial inquiry,” said Mr. Nirupam.

Mr. Mehta said he is busy with the inquiry on Kamala Mills. “I would not like to comment on any allegations.”

The Congress leader pointed out the delay of over nine days in arresting the owner of Mojo’s Bistro, where the fire broke out on December 29, claiming that the Nagpur connection of all the owners is a major reason behind the leniency towards them. Yug Pathak, one of the owners, was arrested on Saturday.

The BJP said Mr. Nirupam’s allegations are meant to cover the corruption of the Congress-NCP in transforming mill to mall. “The government is conducting a serious investigation into the case and no one will be spared. The Congress leader is making the allegations to pressure the investigating agencies and misdirect them,” said party spokesperson Madhav bhandari.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 1:15:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/congress-accuses-mehta-of-violating-construction-rules/article22399657.ece

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