Mumbai: 5,000-page inquiry report on illegal film studios but no action against BMC officer hand-in-glove with owners

Three months on, there has been no action against errant BMC officers allegedly hand-in-glove with owners of illegal film studios at Madh, Marve, Erangle and Bhati village

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Monday, January 23, 2023, 10:18 PM IST
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Mumbai: Three months on, there has been no action against errant BMC officers allegedly hand-in-glove with owners of illegal film studios at Madh, Marve, Erangle and Bhati village. 

The inquiry was set up by the BMC in Sept 2022 under Deputy Municipal Commissioner Harshad Kale, who submitted a 5,000-page inquiry report to civic chief Iqbal Singh Chahal on Oct 15.

This reporter reached out to Mr Chahal but was instead asked to contact Assistant Commissioner Ashish Sharma, who didn’t respond to phone calls and WhatsApp messages till the time of going to press.  

BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar, who had agitated against illegal studios, told this newspaper, “BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal should put this report on the civic body’s website. People should know about the irregularities. The BMC chief hasn’t initiated any inquiry against anyone under the Official Secret Act for hiding information from the public.”

Mr Chahal had issued a notification on Sept 6, stating that 49 complaints were received by the BMC from citizens in 2021-22, alleging that several illegal studios have been constructed in No Development Zones (NDZ) and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) areas at Madh, Marve, Bhati and Erangle.

As per the complainants, construction has been allegedly undertaken without any documents or with fake documents with the help of BMC and Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) officers.

As per Mr Chahal’s order, Mr Kale was to investigate the role of then Assistant Municipal Commissioner of P- North ward and assistant engineers and other officers. The letter also stated that the report should be submitted within a month. Mr Chahal had also directed the investigating officer to specify the role of each officer involved and suggest appropriate action. 

BJP MLAs Atul Bhatkhalkar and Yogesh Sagar and MP Gopal Shetty had agitated over the issue. Thereafter, the BMC Commissioner had initiated an inquiry.

Mr Kale had examined several documents and recorded statements of 43 witnesses, including BMC officers. The report was filed in Oct 2022, but Mr Chahal went to attend a four-day C40 Global Summit of Mayors in Argentina. 

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