Mumbai: HC wants housing minister to explain visit to police station

Mumbai: Bombay High Court on Thursday directed state’s housing minister Prakash Mehta to file an affidavit explaining why he visited the Tilak Nagar police station on April 15. This comes after the HC was informed by BMC that the minister had ‘obstructed’ civic officials in demolishing illegal hutments near Ghatkopar.

A Division Bench presided over by Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon was hearing a petition filed by Janhit Manch, which sought directions to BMC for evicting hutments in Ghatkopar area. The petitioners had contended that these hutments encroached the pipeline that supplies water to the city.

Pursuant to the directions of the Bench, Vijay Khaire, senior police inspector of Tilak Nagar PS, appeared before the court. He admitted that Mehta visited the police station on April 15. He trashed BMC’s contention that the police did not provide protection to civic officials at Mehta’s behest.

Standing in the witness box, Khaire was unsure if there was any CCTV camera installed in his own cabin. He even failed to answer if CCTV footage of Mehta’s visit could be retrieved.

Justice Oka said, “This is disturbing and cannot be taken lightly especially after the reactions of this officer. We want the government to file an affidavit explaining why the minister visited the PS.”

Interestingly, Advocate General Rohit Deo was also unable to explain the reason for Mehta’s visit to the police station. He accordingly sought adjournment for two weeks. Responding to Deo’s submissions, Justice Oka said, “We expected Advocate General would explain why minister visited but you too are unable to do so.”

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