Lending credence to the fact that celebrities are not above law, the BMC on Monday demolished several illegal structures inside the eight-storey residential building of senior BJP MP and former minister Shatrughan Sinha in Juhu. Sinha was at home when the demolition was carried out.
The building called “Ramayan” serves as the abode of the former actor and his family, including actor-daughter Sonakshi. As per the civic officials, two toilets and a pantry in the refuge area; a toilet on the terrace; and an office and a puja room in the building stilt were found to be constructed illegally.
Except the puja room, all the other illegal structures were demolished. They have asked Sinha to shift the temple and remove the puja room. BMC is contemplating fling a police case against Sinha for violation of construction rules and recover the cost of the demolition from him.
Interestingly, Sinha received the first notice on December 6 last year regarding the violations, a day after he came out in support of his party colleague and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha’s agitation against the BJP-led state government. Yashwant Sinha was rallying for farmers in Akola.
“The government is encouraging having toilets inside houses so we had constructed one on the terrace so that people working in the building can use it. I have no issues with the BMC removing it. The puja room was shifted to the stilt temporarily as we are awaiting additional construction rights to build a permanent one. I co-operated with the officials without creating any commotion,” said Sinha.
When asked if his backing for Yashwant Sinha had anything to do with the demolition, he laughed it off.
Civic officials stated that they had received a complaint three months ago about Sinha having violated the floor space index (FSI) rule by constructing additional structures in the building without permissions. The BMC had issued a notice under Section 53 (1) of the Maharashtra Region and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, asking him to explain his position.
A final notice was sent to Sinha on Saturday before carrying out the demolition. The building came up in 2012 after Sinha redeveloped his bungalow on the plot. The family occupies the entire building and has been residing there after getting the mandatory occupation certificate (OC) from the BMC after the redevelopment. A civic official alleged that the illegal constructions came up after issuance of the OC. The family had vacated the plot in 2007 for the building construction and in 2009, the BMC had approved the structure plan—stilts, a two-floor podium and an eight-storey structure.