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HC seeks affidavit from minister on stay granted to eatery

The Bombay High Court directed Maharashtra minister Ranjit Patil to file an affidavit in response to a public interest litigation alleging that he misused his powers to save an illegal eatery from demolition.

A division bench of Justices R M Savant and Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a PIL filed by activist Pravin Wategaonkar alleging that Patil had stayed the demolition of a illegal structure at Chinese restaurant ‘Wok Express’ at Bandra-Kurla Complex even though there existed no provision in the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act for granting such a relief.

The High Court had last month directed Wategaonkar to implead Patil in the matter.

Wategaonkar informed the court that he has impleaded Patil as a respondent following which the court issued the order.

“We direct the minister and other respondents – state Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (Anti-Corruption Bureau) to file their affidavit by August 7,” the bench said.

The PIL alleges that the stay was granted because the eatery is managed by the kin of a principal secretary in the Maharashtra government.

As per the plea, MMRDA had leased the space in BKC to the company Spice and Grains, which runs the eatery, for a food court.

The development authority, however, found that the company had carried out unauthorised construction and in May last year it issued a demolition notice.

The company then approached Patil in August, requesting that the demolition order be stayed and “Patil granted the stay immediately,” the plea said.

The petitioner has sought the High Court’s direction to the state government to disclose as to why the stay order was issued by the minister.

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