INDIA

Sonu Sood Moves Top Court Over Civic Body’s Illegal Construction Claim

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Sonu Sood Moves Top Court Over Civic Body's Illegal Construction Claim

Actor Sonu Sood modified his building without permission, the Mumbai civic body alleged (File)

Mumbai:

Actor Sonu Sood moved the Supreme Court Friday a day after the Bombay High Court rejected a petition against a Mumbai civic body notice alleging repeated illegal construction at a building owned by him in the city’s Juhu neighbourhood.

The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has alleged that Mr Sood carried out structural changes at a six-storey building – the same offered as a coronavirus quarantine facility for medical professionals early last year – and converted it into a hotel without the required permissions.

In his plea before the top court Mr Sood denied the BMC’s claim that he a “habitual offender” and said that he had converted the building into an hotel for COVID warriors. Mr Sood said he had sought the authorities’ permission in 2018.

The High Court dismissed Mr Sood’s petition Thursday; dismissing the application, Justice Prithviraj Chavan said: “Law helps only those who are diligent.”

An earlier petition – filed at the City Civil Court last month – had also been rejected.

In each of his petitions Mr Sood sought orders restraining the BMC from coercive action against his property. The building – Shakti Sagar – has been listed for demolition by the BMC.

“The petitioner has not made any changes in the building that warrants permission from the BMC. Only those changes that are allowed under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act have been done,” Amogh Singh, Mr Sood’s advocate, argued before the Bombay High Court.

The BMC, however, told the High Court that Mr Sood “is a habitual offender”. Alleged illegal portions were demolished in 2018 and in February 2020, after being rebuilt, the BMC added.

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“… (Mr Sood) wants to enjoy the commercial proceeds of the unauthorised work and therefore once again started reconstructing the demolished portion in order to make it operational as a hotel albeit illegally and without permission from the License department,” the civic body said.

“The appellant has not been given permission for change of user of the said property from residential to commercial and there is no license to run the commercial hotel,” the affidavit added.

The BMC has also filed a complaint at the Juhu Police Station, asking for an FIR (first information report) to be lodged against the actor – which has yet to be filed – on the same charges.

Mr Sood was hailed as a hero after he helped a large number of migrants return home during the Covid lockdown by hiring buses to transport them from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

The BMC’s action has also triggered a political row, with BJP MLA Ram Kadam pointing to the row involving actor Kangana Ranaut and hitting out at “vendetta politics by (the ruling) Shiv Sena”.

With input from PTI

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