The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) filed a police complaint against Bollywood actor Sonu Sood on Thursday for allegedly converting a six-storey residential building in Juhu into a hotel.
The BMC has filed the case under section 3 of Maharashtra Region and Town Planning Act, accusing Sood of increasing, altering the structure and changing the use of land without prior permission. Reacting to the matter, the actor said that he had already taken permission from BMC and is now waiting for approval from Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.
In the complaint filed by Mandar Wakankar, junior engineer, building and proposal department of K westward, he has stated that Sood converted the Shakti Sagar Building on AB Nair road into a hotel without requisite permission.
“It has been found that Sonu Sood has made a change in the use of land by himself. We have been following up the issue with him since 2019, the services continued there. Apart from this, the residential building has been converted into a residential hotel building by making additional construction out of the fixed plan. For this, they have not even obtained the necessary technical approval from the authority,” said the senior BMC official.
In June 2018, Sonu Sood had filed a proposal at BP Department of BMC’s K-West ward (Juhu, Andheri, Vile Parle -West) office to convert the six-storey residential building into a hotel for lodging. In September 2018, the BMC had returned the proposal and demanded to follow the guidelines.
After several complaints, on January 24, 2019, the premises were inspected by the K West ward's health department officials to verify the details and it turned out that the facility did not have legal license to operate. The officials then said that they will initiate prosecution against Sonu Sood.
In their submitted report, BMC officials stated that lodging services were being illegally provided in the ground-plus-six structure. The building has a total of 23 operational rooms. The report also stated that trade activities needed to immediately stop once the report was received. In case of non-compliance, legal action under section 394 of the MMC Act will be initiated.
The matter, however, remained pending until 2020 and later the matter got delayed further as pandemic hit the city.
According to Wakankar's complaint, Sood ignored the notice issued to him on the violation. "Even after the notice was issued, they continued to carry out unauthorised construction and refused to abide by the orders via the notice issued in October 2020," said an official.
Sonu Sood has recently been in the limelight due to his extraordinary philanthropic work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He transformed from a reel-to-real hero for helping thousands of migrants to reach home during the lockdown. He has also helped people in getting hospital beds and arramging tratement.
He helped thousands of stranded migrant workers and students by arranging buses, flights and trains for them to reach their homes. In April 2019, he offered free accommodation to frontline staff and medicos on COVID-19 duty in the same "illegal" Juhu hotel.