However, his bungalow has been constructed over an area of more than 1,000 sqms.
Mumbai: Taking a strict stand against the conduct of the local authorities while dealing with the Alibaug bungalow belonging to fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi, an accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, the Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday said that it would direct the principal secretary, revenue department, to conduct an inquiry. Modi’s bungalow is one of the many structures in Alibaug that were allegedly constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and other norms.
At the last hearing, the Bombay HC had directed the Raigad district collector and sub-divisional officer (SDO) to file an explanation as to why no demolition action was taken against illegal constructions in the Alibaug coastal area despite a HC order. The court observed that Modi was granted permission for construction only on an area of around 390 sqms. However, his bungalow has been constructed over an area of more than 1,000 sqms.
Accordingly, Dr. Namdevrao Suryavanshi, the Raigad collector submitted an affidavit in court on Tuesday, stating that in 2011, the then collector had regularised Modi’s bungalow so there was no question arising regarding its demolition. The court was irked when the collector, in his affidavit, stated that if the matter was closed, then why did the SDO send the files pertaining to violations made by Modi to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) on June 2.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Shiv Shambhu Prathisthan of Alibaug, alleging the Raigad collector and SDOs are trying to avoid demolition of extended bungalows of the rich and the famous, including diamond merchant Modi. The petition stated there are around 175 such private residences, belonging to businessmen and Bollywood actors among others in CRZ areas in villages such as Varsoli, Sasvane, Kolgaon and Dokvade, all in Alibaug taluka.