Actor Kangana Ranaut seeks Rs 2 crore damages from BMC
Mumbai: Actor Kangana Ranaut has amended her petition pending before the Bombay high court and sought compensation of Rs 2 crore for "nearly 40% damage" to her office in Mumbai during the demolition undertaken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on September 9.
She alleged the action was initiated for her stand against a leader of Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena. As the same party is also heading the civic body, it was misused to carry out the demolition, she added.
Ranaut has been at loggerheads with the state government since she criticised Mumbai police's handling of Sushant Singh Rajput's death investigation. She referred to Mumbai as "Pakistan-occupied Kashmir" and "Pakistan" and triggered a political controversy. The state's ruling alliance has accused her of carrying forward the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s political agenda. Ranaut got security from the BJP-ruled Centre amid her spat with Sena leaders.
Her lawyer had sent a reply on September 8 to BMC's demolition notice under section 354A. Her amended petition says that though her reply was rejected at 10.35 am, BMC and police officers were "already present outside the bungalow well before the time of the Impugned Order which can be proved by the Petitioner's tweet at 10:19am on 9th of September, 2020. The photograph clearly shows that the officials ..alongwith police officers and with all the equipment as they were already ready to demolish the said Bungalow which shows that BMC always had mala fide intentions and ulterior motives to demolish the Bungalow and were ready even before the Impugned Order to demolish was passed.''
The actor said the BMC's claim, in reply to her petition challenging the demolition, was without proper evidence and arbitrary. She added the civic body's claim that it found 14 alterations and additions to the property during the inspection on September 7 was not substantiated by proper evidence. Ranaut dismissed the notice as "illegal" and "wrongful" and added it deserved to be set aside.
The petition said her lawyer, Rizwan Siddiquee, visited the premises on September 9 to give the officer present there a copy of her petition and to inform him that it was to be heard. It added the officer locked the gate from inside and continued with the demolition. Ranaut said valuable property like chandeliers and rare artworks were damaged. She sought interim relief to take steps to make the property "capable of use" after the demolition.
The Bombay high court on September 9 stayed further demolition of the actor's alleged unauthorised structures hours after the BMC started the exercise. It said the BMC's action "prima facie did not appear to be bonafide and smacked of malafide". The court directed the civic body to file an affidavit in response to Ranaut's plea seeking interim relief of stay on the demolition work.
The BMC issued the stop-work notice to Ranaut on September 8 over the renovation and finishing work at her office.
The final hearing will be on September 22 and the HC continued the stay on demolition till then.