A day after the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) partly demolished the office of Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut, the civic body on Thursday hit out at her, saying her hands were not “clean", even as the Bombay High Court ordered a ‘status quo’ and posted the matter for hearing on Sep. 22.
Filing an affidavit during the hearing of Ranaut’s plea challenging the demolition of Sep. 9, the BMC legal team said the actress had not secured due permissions for the alleged unauthorised alterations in the premises and the work was done in complete violation of applicable rules.
The BMC team which included Senior Counsel Aspiy Chinoy, Senior Counsel Anil Sakhare and advocate Joel Carlos, pointed out that Ranaut had not disputed carrying out the unlawful modifications in her writ petition and she had no basis to dispute the illegal works carried out.
On Wedneday, a division bench of Bombay High Court comprising Justice S. J. Kathawalla and Justice R. I. Chagla took a serious view of the BMC actions and immediately ordered a stay on the demolition drive at Bungalow No. 5 in Chetak Row Houses in Bandra West.
After hearing the two parties, the high court ordered that both sides will maintain a status quo in the matter and will hear the case on Sep. 22 after the BMC urged that Ranaut must not be permitted to carry out any work on her property till the next hearing.
The BMC affidavit also rejected Ranaut’s charges, saying she is “trying to obfuscate and cover up" her illegal construction works “by making baseless and wild allegations of malafide, etc".
The civic body outright denied her charges that principles of natural justice have been violated, and with the photos and other details the civic body had collected, it said the actress “has made false and incorrect statements and has not approached the Hon’ble Court with clean hands".
“The present petition is misconceived and devoid of any merits and liable to be dismissed with costs," said the BMC.
Denying the BMC’s contentions, Ranaut’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiqui sought more time from the court to amend the petition to incorporate some additional information.
While granting time to Siddiqui till Sep. 14, it directed the BMC to file its reply by Sep. 18 and fixed the next court hearing after 12 days (Sep. 22).
It may be recalled that on Sep. 7, the civic body surveyed Ranaut’s office premises, the next day it slapped a notice for stop-work, followed by this a demolition notice and razed nearly three-fourths of her premises by the afternoon of Sep. 9 before she secured a stay.