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In an RTI reply, BMC said they had paid Rs.82.5 lakh in legal charges to a senior lawyer for representing the municipal body in Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow demolition case in Bombay High Court, as per a report in the Times of India. An RTI activist Sharad Yadav had applied to obtain the said information.
As per the TOI report, Yadav said there are senior advocates on the BMC panel but to justify the ruling party’s political ego, BMC spent 82.5 lakh of public money to hire a senior counsel. “There is no clear policy over the issue, he further added.
Demolition of actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow
BMC had alleged that Ranaut was commencing an unauthorized construction in her Mumbai office-cum-residential bungalow located at Chetak Row House, in Pali Hill, Bandra (west). On 9th September, they executed the under-renovation property’s demolition order. At the time of demolition, Ranaut was traveling to Mumbai from her hometown in Himachal Pradesh.
She approached the High Court to get a stay on any further action by BMC. To represent BMC in court, a senior lawyer was hired and charged Rs.82.5 lakh for appearing in court. On 5th October, the court had concluded the hearing and reserved the decision.
The first RTI application was rejected
According to reports, Yadav’s first RTI application was rejected. He had also filed an RTI with the H-West ward office under which the western stretch of Bandra-Khar-Santacruz falls. He had asked about the total number of complaints the office had received related to encroachment of the refuge areas. The application was submitted in March. In September, BMC said it could not provide the required information due to a workforce shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic. Regarding the Kangana case, after the rejection of his first query, Yadav had filed another application and had received a reply on October 27.
Kangana Vs Shiv Sena
After the alleged suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Kangana Ranaut came down heavily on the ruling party in Maharashtra, alleging misappropriations in the investigation. At the time of demolition of her bungalow by BMC, Ranaut had alleged that the municipal body is acting on the behest of the ruling party, Shiv Sena. Sanjay Raut had called her ‘Haramkhor’ and later tried to justify it saying it means naughty. The clip of him calling her names was playing in the High Court during the hearing. Other Shiv Sena leaders had also threatened assault and harassment of the actress, following which she was provided security by the Himachal Pradesh government.