Sculptor wins in ‘ face- off ’ with Indore civic body

INDORE: A sculptor, who was denied payment by the Indore Municipal Corporation ( IMC) for a statue sculpted by him for about 35 months on a flimsy excuse that the face of the sculpture didn’t match the object, was on Tuesday awarded a favourable verdict by a court which includes not only due payment but also interest on it and court expenses.

Sculptor wins in ‘ face- off ’ with Indore civic body

Sculptor Mahendra Kodwani had sculpted a statue of late minister and MLA Laxman Singh Gaud on the initiative of IMC. It weighed 1000 kg and was put in place on December 24, 2010. It was unveiled in an official ceremony on February 11, 2011.

The payment was still due to the sculptor and he kept requesting the IMC officials concerned to clear it. However, despite running from pillar to post, he received deadwood response. Finally, after about one year of uncertainty and disappointment, he moved the court on February 8, 2012.

After the court proceedings, a verdict was passed in which the judge directed the IMC not only make payment of the due amount within two months to the sculptor but also pay interest on the money, expenses incurred by him in the court case and other indirect costs.

It is noteworthy that the contract of building the sculpture was awarded to Kodwani for Rs 5.2 lakh in 2010. Now, after the court orders, IMC has been asked to pay 6 per cent additional as interest on the due amount from the date of unveiling of the sculpture. Not only this, IMC has also been asked to pay fee to the tune of Rs 70,000 incurred by the appellant for hiring advocate.

When the appellant filed the case in court, the respondent ( IMC) replied that the face of sculpture built by Kodwani didn’t match with the face of late Gaud. IMC cited this as a reason for not releasing payment to the appellant. However, wife of late Gaud, gave in writing that the face of sculpture actually matches the face of her husband. This gave an edge to the appellant in the court as well.

Sculptor alleges officials of asking for bribe

After the court verdict, sculptor Kodwani has accused two officials of asking for bribe to the tune of lakhs of rupees for releasing his payment for the sculpture. He claimed that public works president at IMC Jawahar Mangwani and corporator Sonu Rathore had asked him for Rs 2.5 lakh bribe. Kodwani has also claimed that he would file defamation charges against the then commissioner of IMC, public works president Mangwani and executive engineer Omprakash Dubey. Kodwani claimed that corporator Sonu Rathore had also filed a false affidavit. Advocate Prasanna R Bhatnagar represented the appellant in the court.

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