The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday demolished the alleged `illegal alterations’ at Kanga Ranaut's Pali Hill property, for which the civic body had issued a 'Stop Work' notice on Tuesday. The BMC pointed out 14 structural violations in Kangana’s property, including 'unauthorised alterations of space' and 'illegal erection of the building'. Kangana was using the Pali Hill property for her production banner, Manikarnika Films.
Civic officials of H West ward arrived at Chetak Row around 10:30 am with a bulldozer and stuck a demolition notice at the gate. After BMC had issued a notice to Ranaut on Tuesday, her lawyer Rizwan Siddique wrote back to the civic body stating that no renovation work was being carried out at the property, and so the 'Stop Work' notice was invalid.
"The reply sent by your advocate stands rejected and work carried by your office stands unauthorised," read the notice. The BMC also claimed the demolition process was legal, and it may take criminal action against Ranaut.
The demolition was carried out on the ground floor, first floor and second floor of the bungalow. The office spaces and toilets on the ground floor were demolished. On the first floor, a meeting room and a 'Pooja Room' were partially dismantled. An extended bedroom and a horizontal slab were demolished on the second floor.
Ranaut had bought the bungalow three years ago. Neighbours said the BMC had a legal dispute with the previous owner, but the matter was resolved in 2018. Ward officer Vinayak Visphute had earlier told FPJ that no notice was served to Ranaut for the Pali Hill property prior to Tuesday.
Asked how the BMC carried out the demolition despite an High Court order in March preventing any demolition or eviction during the pandemic without prior permission from the court, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Zone 3, Parag Masurkar, said, "The order refers to residential structures and not commercial structure. Hence it is not applicable in this case. We will submit our reply on the matter before the court."
"We had to carry out demolition on an emergency basis as illegal repair works were underway at the property. The BMC had also served her a notice and given 24 hours to respond,” said Bhagyavant Late, designated officer, Building Factory Department, BMC.
"We were surveying some bungalows and residential buildings in Khar and Bandra, and found unauthorised alterations in Ranaut's bungalow,” said another civic official. Ward officer and Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Vinayak Visphute remained unavailable for comment. Ranaut tweeted, "I am never wrong and my enemies prove again and again this is why my Mumbai is POK now #deathofdemocracy". Posting pictures of the demolished parts, she likened the civic officials with 'Babur and his army'.